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Unsatisfied on both sides

15 July 2014
This case illustrates the importance of handling complaints professionally – lead with your head, not your heart...

A dentist found herself before a disciplinary tribunal for issuing a summons against a patient for unpaid fees. The patient refused to pay the fee for six anterior crowns that she regarded as unsatisfactory in appearance.

The dentist maintained that there was no problem with the appearance and criticised the patient for changing her mind during the course of treatment. The dentist had cemented the crowns permanently and refused to deal with the patient’s complaint until the fees were paid.

Consequently the dentist was strongly reprimanded for the manner in which the complaint had been handled and the subsequent claim had to be settled for a small sum when an expert report suggested that while the appearance of the crowns was satisfactory, unfortunately the fit was not!

Learning point:
When a complaint is investigated, there is always the possibility that other aspects of clinical work will be scrutinised.

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