Dentist left tool in patient's mouth

Last updated 14:43 24/03/2014

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A dentist has been criticised for leaving part of a medical instruments in a patient's mouth and attempting to cover-up the mistake when his patient's mouth started to hurt.

The Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Theo Baker said the dentist broke the code of conduct for caring for his patient.

In her decision released today, she said the teenage patient was undergoing a root canal when part of the dentist's fine instrument broke-off in the tooth. 

The dentist noticed that part of his instrument was missing but did not tell the patient or record it.

When the teenage patient returned later complaining about the pain, the dentist made three separate attempts to retrieve the missing tool without ever telling his patient the reason for the procedure.

The patient only uncovered that something was lodged in his teeth when he went to another dentist.

Ms Baker said the dentist had clearly breached his obligation towards his client, by failing to telling him about the his mistake and by later attempting to retrieve the missing piece without his patient's knowledge.

The dentist has been referred on to the Director of Proceedings, which has the power to investigate further and seek further penalties.

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- The Dominion Post

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