Medical Malpractice/brain abcess


QUESTION: I had a gum infection so I went to dentist I was told I have bad gum infection and that I needed two crowns. I received 1 treatment for gum infection and two weeks later the dentist started drilling for crowns he gave temporary crowns a week later got permanent crowns  a few days later I started getting migraines and my vision was blurry a couple of days later I had a seizure and ended up going to the emergency room with a brain abcess I have never been sick a day in my life a couple of people have said it came from the infection they ran all kids of test on me and  found nothing the only infection I had was gum infection I had to be on infusion for 7 weeks and ended up have a bad reaction to that and had to go back in the hospital. I spent 4 week altogether in hopitals  and I haven't been the same since when I asked the neurosurgeon what it came fro he said it is too complicated for him to explain, I think that someone should be able to tell me why this happened to me. what should I do

ANSWER: It is well known that oral infections can spread by the blood stream throughout the body and can indeed cause an infection in the brain.  This is probably what happened to you.  The question is now, is the dentist responsible?  The answer is, maybe.  I wish you told me what kind of "treatment" he gave you for the infection.  If the treatment was surgical.........that is, he cut open the gums to drain out the infection...........and he did this before you started taking antibiotics, that was probably the cause of the infection spread.  Before such treatment the dentist should determine if you have any of the following:

Weakened immune system
any chronic disease such as cancer
you take drugs that suppress the immune system
you have a heart condition (heart valve problem for instance)

If you had any of the above, then you are at risk of problems from spread of the infection in your mouth and you should have been put on antibiotics well before the gum treatment. Failure to do so was probably dental malpractice.  In that case, if you have suffered some kind of permanennt injury that can be documented by a neurologist, then you should consult with a local malpractice attorney.

On the other hand, if you did not have any such pre-existing medical problems, then the dentist was probably fine in treating you as he did because he had no way of knowing your were susceptible to infection spread.

If he treated the infection with antibiotics only and gave those antibiotics a couple of weeks to work on the infection before he did the crowns, I would say he did everything by the book and that there was no negligence.  You had a bad result that could not have been predicted and that the dentist took adequate steps to prevent. P.S.  I don't know whether 2 weeks is the recommended period of time for the antibiotics to act on the gum infection but assume that it probably is in which case the dentist followed proper procedure and there is no malpractice even though you had a very bad reaction.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: the dentist only did a cleaning (like scaling)  no antibiotics

Roche:  What makes you think you had a bad gum infection???  Did the dentist say so or was that your own diagnosis?  Next question:  Did you have any of those medical conditions that I listed??

I am thinking if all he did was do a teeth cleaning, you did not have a widespread infection of your gums.  He would have given you antibiotics.  Look, we are just guessing at all of this. If you really want answers you need to tell the dentist that you want your dental chart.  Then we could see what your condition was.  Just guessing otherwise.

Bottom line:  if there is evidence in the records that you had a serious infection in the gums, I believe the proper treatment is to administer antibiotics because failure to do so could allow bacteria from the mouth to spead to other areas of the body during teeth cleaning.  So again, if you want to pursue this, get a copy of your records and see what they say about infection. If they ask why you want the chart just tell them you may be moving and want to have the records for your new dentist  Insist on getting them giving you the chart.  I think the dental procedures did cause the brain infection but was your condition such that the dentist should have provided different treatment that would have avoided systemic infection?

Also, if you really want answers, a lawyer would also need to see the hospital records or records from the neurologist to see if there is any mention of the dental treatments.

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Glenn A. Dorfman


Thirty-four years experience in personal injury, medical malpractice and medical product liability law. Qualified to answer all questions regarding injuries and the law, except for worker`s compensation. Also wide experience in medical product defect cases ie current litigation regarding the Johnson&Johnson (DePuy)defective hip implant cases and Mirena IUD issues


Thirty-four years experience handling cases involving auto accidents, trips and fall, fires, dog bite,medical malpractice and defective medical product cases with particular emphasis in 2012 and beyond with the DePuy ASR (Johnson&Johnson) defective hip implant cases. Twenty-five years of experience with defective IUD issues as well

Jurisdoctor Degree 1976 and Member in good standing with CA State Bar Assoc. since 1976

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