The Australian litigation landscape - Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and general dentistry (oral surgery procedures): An analysis of litigation cases

Badenoch-Jones, E.K., White, B.P., & Lynham, A.J. (2016) The Australian litigation landscape - Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and general dentistry (oral surgery procedures): An analysis of litigation cases. Australian Dental Journal, 61(3), pp. 310-316.

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Abstract

Background

  • There are persistent concerns about litigation in the dental and medical professions. These concerns arise in a setting where general dentists are more frequently undertaking a wider range of oral surgery procedures, potentially increasing legal risk.

Methods

  • Judicial cases dealing with medical negligence in the fields of general dentistry (oral surgery procedure) and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery were located using the three main legal databases. Relevant cases were analysed to determine the procedures involved, the patients’ claims of injury, findings of negligence, and damages awarded. A thematic analysis of the cases was undertaken to determine trends.

Results

  • Fifteen cases over a twenty-year period were located across almost all Australian jurisdictions (eight cases involved general dentists; seven cases involved Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons). Eleven of the fifteen cases involved determinations of whether or not the practitioner had failed in their duty of care; negligence was found in six cases. Eleven of the fifteen cases related to molar extractions (eight specifically to third molar).

Conclusions

  • Dental and medical practitioners wanting to manage legal risk should have regard to circumstances arising in judicial cases. Adequate warning of risks is critical, as is offering referral in appropriate cases. Pre-operative radiographs, good medical records, and processes to ensure appropriate follow-up are also important.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 87658
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Health law, Medical law, Dental law, Negligence, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
DOI: 10.1111/adj.12374
ISSN: 1834-7819
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > DENTISTRY (110500) > Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (110504)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Tort Law (180126)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Copyright Statement:

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: [Australian Dental Journal

Volume 61, Issue 3, pages 310–316,], which has been published in final form at [10.1111/adj.12374]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Deposited On: 23 Sep 2015 03:21
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2016 17:40

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