Dental Negligence Proven By General Dental Council
The Law Of... uncovering negligent practicesIn an ongoing saga, Desmond D'Mello – a dentist who was alleged to have caused the biggest NHS patient recall in history – has been found guilty of malpractice by the dental governing body.
Responding to the case, Daxa Patel – Partner in Medical Negligence
– explains how negligent practices can have serious life-changing effects on patients.
22,000 Patients Recalled
Mr D'Mello was accused of a string of poor hygiene practices after secret filming at his Daybrook Dental Practice
caused a recall of 22,000 patients.
Investigating the allegations, the General Dental Council
found that the dentist was guilty of malpractice and in turn decided to strike Mr D'Mello from the register.
At a misconduct hearing, which Mr D'Mello did not give evidence to, a panel proved all but 1 of 56 allegations.
The negligent dentist has been practising for nearly 38 years and began his own practice in 1980. However, serious questions arose regarding his conduct after secret filming revealed he was not following basic hygiene procedures.
Risk Of Viral Infection
Allegations against Mr D'Mello included failing to change gloves and face masks between patients. Ignoring these standard hygiene procedures led to a risk of blood-borne diseases and of the 4,526 patients tested following the recall, 5 were found to have hepatitis C.
Throughout the saga Mr D'Mello has protested his innocence, but a dental nurse that worked closely with the dentist claimed that he wanted to see as many patients as possible and actively discouraged his employees to follow protocols and change gloves between patients.
Passing a ruling on the allegations, the General Dental Council said that the negligent dentist failed in his duty of care to patients and did not maintain adequate infection controls.
Commenting on this case of serious dental negligence
, Daxa said:"This story demonstrates that poor, unacceptable standards of care can result in patients contracting viruses that they should not have been exposed to in the first place.""Of course, many patients receive decent dental treatment every day, but it is important to remain vigilant against individual cases of malpractice.""In this instance, the dentist, for whatever reasons, be it costs or time, compromised patient care by not adhering to basic standards of hygiene, causing unimaginable pain and suffering to his patients. Some of whom could well be scarred for life or fearful of visiting a dentist again.""Had the dentist maintained basic levels of hygiene, these patients would have been spared serious distress and suffering. We sadly come across instances of unacceptable standards of medical care and it is hard to gauge the needless trauma this causes the patient and their families, especially as the NHS themselves describes instances such as these as 'Never Events' – meaning that they should never happen."