An unexpected deafness
A consultant oral surgeon arranged a maxillary condyle biopsy to diagnose the cause of facial asymmetry in a young patient. The biopsy confirmed the nature of the associated pathology but unfortunately the child suffered hearing loss after surgery.
The father of the child was naturally concerned and was unable to understand why relatively minor jaw surgery should lead to post-operative deafness.
Possible explanations were given, and eventually the father agreed to further surgery to investigate the deafness. Scar tissue was detected in the ear and the tissue was duly removed. After the removal of the dressings, normal hearing returned.
Solicitors were instructed by the parents and the hospital involved dealt with a potential claim. The oral surgeon contacted Dental Protection to ensure that his own reputation was protected.
- Adequate warnings to patients or their representatives pre-operatively about potential adverse outcomes or complications predisposes to a measured expectation of postoperative success.
- All discussions about the risks and complications should be carefully noted in the clinical records.
These case studies are based on real events and provided here as guidance. They do not constitute legal advice but are published to help members better understand how they might deal with certain situations. This is just one of the many benefits dental members enjoy as part of their subscription.
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