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- DENTAL MALPRACTICE - ALLEGED NEGLIGENT DENTAL CARE PROVIDED BY DEFENDANT - PLAINTIFF DEVELOPS NUMEROUS PROBLEMS POST-TREATMENT AS A RESULT OF ALLEGED SUBSTANDARD CARE.

Los Angeles County, California (29758)

This lawsuit was initiated by the female plaintiff Multiple Sclerosis sufferer, age 28 when she initially presented to the defendant dentist for a consultation to discuss the possible removal of her amalgam fillings. The plaintiff contended that the defendant provided her with substandard dental treatment in the months which followed her initial presentation, causing her to require further dental care and to develop numerous problems. The plaintiff additionally asserted that the defendant perpetrated a fraud upon her by giving her false hopes of a cure for her Multiple Sclerosis.

The plaintiff initially presented to the defendant on December 16, ________, with nine amalgam fillings ("silver fillings"). The plaintiff testified that she had previously heard of multiple sclerosis victims whose symptoms improved following removal of their amalgam fillings (amalgam fillings contain mercury). The plaintiff claimed that the defendant, a general dentist licensed to practice acupuncture, persuaded her to have her amalgams removed with the understanding that her multiple sclerosis condition would improve.

Thereafter, the defendant proceeded to conduct numerous and allegedly unnecessary pre-treatment testing. The testing included the use of electro-acupuncture devices(EAV and Vega Instrument), a Jerome Mercury Vapor Analyzer kit, and a volt meter purchased from the Radio Shack to measure oral galvanic current.

Additionally, the defendant had ordered blood withdrawn from the plaintiff’s arm by an individual who was not a dentist, physician or registered nurse. The plaintiff claimed that the individual was not licensed to withdraw blood and that in ordering that procedure, the defendant was practicing medicine without a license. The defendant eventually removed all nine of the plaintiff’s amalgam fillings and replaced them with plastic composites. The plaintiff’s experts claimed that all of the defendant’s dental restorations were bulbous and poorly contoured. Additionally, the plaintiff’s expert claimed that the defendant left decay under all the restorations, in violation of accepted dental practice.

The defendant also extracted tooth number 21 (lower left bicuspid). The plaintiff’s experts claimed that because the plaintiff had no complaints of pain associated with the tooth and because there was no radiographic evidence suggesting the necessity for extraction, removal of the tooth should not have been undertaken.

During the plaintiff’s initial visit, she had stated that she was reactive to cheap earrings and watches. This information, coupled with the defendant’s testing of the upper four anterior crowns led the defendant to believe that the upper front anterior crowns contained nickel, a toxic/allergenic metal. The defendant removed the plaintiff’s upper anterior crowns and replaced them with temporary crowns. The plaintiff’s experts testified that the p 7 3 temporary crowns were permitted to remain in the plaintiff’s far too long before they were replaced with permanent crowns. The plaintiff’s expert subsequent treating dentist testified that when he examined the plaintiff on July 26, ________, the gingival area around the upper anterior crowns was "terribly inflamed, edematous, cyanotic, bleeding." The subsequent treating dentist replaced the temporary crowns with permanent crowns and later replaced five of the defendant’s restorations with crowns, while redoing the remaining four restorations with plastic composites.

Finally, the plaintiff contended that the defendant perpetrated a fraud upon her in that he: billed the plaintiff for performing a prophylaxis which he never did; billed for a surgical procedure he never performed; billed for four upper anterior crowns which he never provided; and used substandard techniques which included the placement of magnets on the plaintiff’s lower extremities to control jaw pain.

The defendant denied negligence and maintained that all of the care and treatment provided the plaintiff was within the standard of care of a dentist licensed to practice acupuncture. The defendant also claimed that blood withdrawn from the plaintiff (for serum dentist material compatibility testing), injections of Procaine into the tonsillar fossa (acupuncture neural therapy), infusion I.V. Vitamin C, and use of electroacupuncture magnets, a mercury vapor analyzer, the EAV dermatron and Vega biofeedback instrument were all legitimate screening and treatment modalities within the practice of dentistry as performed by a licensed acupuncturist. The defendant further claimed that any errors in billing were of a clerical nature.

The plaintiff contended that she incurred approximately $________ in subsequent dental care and treatment which included placement of four upper anterior crowns, five posterior crowns and repair of four of the nine plastic composites placed by the defendant. The plaintiff claimed irreversible loss of tooth number 21, development of TMJ problems, and sensitivity to hot and cold following extraction of tooth number 21. The plaintiff additionally claimed exacerbation of her multiple sclerosis resulting from the stress of the defendant’s procedures and the necessity to undergo subsequent repair of his work. The plaintiff requested more than $________ in compensatory damages. Punitive damages were also claimed against the defendant for his alleged fraudulent exploitation of the plaintiff by means of "pseudomedical treatment, voodoo magic and hocus pocus." During various Mandatory Settlement Conferences, the plaintiff’s demand was $________. Just prior to trial, the plaintiff filed a Statutory Offer to Compromise in the sum of $________. During jury deliberation, the plaintiff’s demand was reduced to $________.

Immediately before trial, the defendant consented to settlement in the sum of $________. That offer was withdrawn following the Mandatory Settlement Conference. The defendant refused to negotiate settlement after commencement of trial. The jury found for the defendant. Defendant’s expert general dentist licensed to practice acupuncture: Edward Arana from Carmel, Ca. Defendant’s expert oral surgeon: Eric Hars from Long Beach, Ca. Defendant’s expert periodontist: Ronald Barbanell from Long Beach, Ca. Judith p 7 3 Blaszczyk vs. Vaughn T. Harada, D.D.S. Case no. WEC ________ ________; Judge Sarah Radin, 2-25-92. Attorneys for plaintiff: Sydney L.

Binstock and Yvonne Binstock of the Law Offices of Sydney L.

Binstock, D.D.S, J.D. in Los Angeles; Attorney for defendant: Robert L. Banfield of Veatch, Carlson, Grogan & Nelson in Los Angeles.