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Following the reasonable body of opinion

29 August 2014
Making clinical judgements that go against the grain is never a good idea. If in doubt, Dental Protection is only ever a phone call away...

A hygienist was asked to treat a patient who had undergone a hip joint replacement approximately one year earlier and had been informed by his orthopaedic consultant that he would need antibiotic cover before any invasive dental procedure.

He brought a letter to that effect. However, the hygienist was concerned that their prescribing guide expressly indicated that there was no justification to give prophylaxis under these circumstances.

After a discussion with a defence organisation, it was agreed that the hygienist was entirely right to be concerned. It was also agreed that if an antibiotic was given and the patient suffered an adverse reaction, this could not be successfully defended in view of the guidelines published in the nationally recognised text on prescribing.

Learning point:

This case illustrates the importance of following a reasonable body of opinion when making a clinical choice.

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