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Proven consent heads off discontent

15 July 2014
Misunderstandings can and will occur, but keeping comprehensive records is the key to proving your professionalism..

A dentist received a letter of complaint from a patient for whom he had fitted a pair of chrome-cobalt dentures. Although he had not supplied the patient with a written treatment plan prior to commencement of the treatment, at each of the subsequent four appointments he fully explained the treatment process. He was therefore surprised to receive the patient’s letter which alleged that the dentures had been supplied without consent.

The dentist arranged a meeting with the patient and an accompanying relative. Also present was the dental nurse who had been in the surgery throughout the treatment and had witnessed the dentist’s explanations.

With the use of comprehensive record cards and substantiated by his nurse, the dentist was able to assure the patient that he had fully discussed the provision of two chrome-cobalt dentures both before and during the treatment. He did, however, apologise for the obvious misunderstanding – this is something you can always do without having to suggest that either you, or the patient, were in the wrong.

Learning point:
A smoothly co-ordinated response involving all the parties to the case plus an apology from the dentist saved the day.
 
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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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