DENTIST PAYS OUT TO SURREY WOMAN IN NEGLIGENCE CASE
A woman with Ectodermal Dysplasia (ED) – a rare genetic condition which caused her to have less than half the number of adult teeth – has been awarded £27,500 after her dentist carried out unnecessary and expensive dental implant surgery without her consent, leaving her in need of extensive corrective surgery.
Initially agreeing to two teeth implants, NHS receptionist Harriet Moggridge, 26 from Epsom only discovered four had been implanted when she received a bill from Dr Henk Freeke from a Surrey dental practice.
When, just a few months after surgery, these began to fail, she decided to seek a second opinion.
This revealed there was insufficient bone at the implants sites to support the new teeth properly, something a CT scan would have shown but Dr. Freeke failed to take. It also found that Freeke had used posts for the implants which were far too big for the bone available which resulted in Harriet’s sinuses being perforated, causing significant long-term pain.
With such compelling evidence Harriet decided to sue Dr. Freeke and instructed the UK’s leading dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership.
“Having dental implants was supposed to be a new beginning for me, where I could smile with confidence for the first time and not be self-conscious. Sadly, it turned into a nightmare,” Harriet explained.
“As a sufferer from ED, I’m no stranger to the dentist and always knew I had to have extensive work done so I wasn’t too fazed when Dr Freeke said that he intended to take two teeth out and replace them with two dental implants which he would use to support a bridge.”
“It wasn’t until I received his bill shortly after surgery in July 2010 for four implants not two that I started to get concerned. He had never mentioned four before and certainly nothing was put in writing. However, I felt that as he’d already performed the surgery there was very little I could do but proceed with the new treatment plan.”
Dr Freeke fitted Harriet with a new bridge in September 2010, but she returned to the practice less than a month later because it felt loose when she ate and but was advised that she would have to wait for it to fall out before it could be re-cemented.
With the bridge getting looser, Harriet went back to see Dr Freeke again in November and was told she’d lost some bone around one of the implants and she would need a replacement implant and another replacement bridge.
By this time Harriet had lost all confidence in Dr Freeke and sought a second opinion with a new dentist, soon after and was immediately referred to St George’s Hospital in Wandsworth, where she discovered two of the implants fitted in June had been placed incorrectly and had punctured her sinuses.
Evidence provided to Harriet’s lawyer, Heather Williams, showed that Dr Freeke did not obtain her consent for four implants and he had placed two of them incorrectly, perforating her sinuses.
Heather said: “Harriet has not only had serious sinus problems since Dr Freeke’s treatment, but has to go through extensive corrective procedures at her own expense because of his mistakes.” Diana Perry from the Ectodermal Dysplasia Society said: “ED is a little known genetic disorder which provides sufferers with many challenges. One major symptom is having few or total absence of teeth, while those teeth that are present are misshapen and often very pointed. Thanks to advances in modern cosmetic dentistry this is eminently treatable and with the right care and attention a sufferer’s appearance can be greatly improved.”
“I’m deeply saddened to hear about Harriet and how she has had to endure unnecessary suffering. One characteristic of ED is low bone density so I am amazed more scans weren’t taken to assess the quality of the bone in the jaw and the suitability for implants. I would encourage people with an Ectodermal Dysplasia syndrome who are considering dental implant surgery to contact the ED Society first and we can put them in touch with our specialists.” www.ectodermaldysplasia.org
Harriet said: “I trusted Dr Freeke completely but he’s left me with so many health issues. The money will go towards putting things right, but importantly confirms that he did not take anything like the care he should have done with my treatment. I can now finally move on.”