Dentist denied dislocating patient's jaw
|Unnecessary Procedure, Medical Malpractice - Informed Consent, Medical Malpractice - Dentist|
|Howard Shapiro v. Jonathan Ferencz, D.D.S., P.C. and Jonathan Ferencz, D.D.S., No. 300015-TSN-2010|
|New York Civil, NY|
- James Caffrey; Bamundo, Zwal & Schermerhorn; New York, NY, for Howard Shapiro
- Michael C. Zwal; Bamundo, Zwal & Schermerhorn; New York, NY, for Howard Shapiro
- Steven Denholtz; TMJ; Flanders, NJ called by: James Caffrey, Michael Zwal
- Alexander Chun M.D.; Gastroenterology; New York, NY called by: James Caffrey, Michael Zwal
- Kenneth Schweitzer D.D.S.; Dentistry/Odontology; New York, NY called by: James Caffrey, Michael Zwal
- Steven H. Mutz; Gordon & Silber, P.C.; New York, NY, for Jonathan Ferencz, Jonathan Ferencz, D.D.S., P.C.
- Richard Blum M.D.; Pharmacology; East Hills, NY called by: Steven Mutz
- Dr. Richard Rausch; Periodontics; New York, NY called by: Steven Mutz
- Arnold Jutkowitz D.D.S.; Prosthodontics; New York, NY called by: Steven Mutz
In March 2004, plaintiff Howard Shapiro, 49, a financial adviser, underwent the implantation of two dental crowns and two dental inlays. The procedure was performed by prosthodontist Dr. Jonathan Ferencz.
Shapiro developed a painful condition of his jaw's temporomandibular joint. He claimed that the joint was displaced during the procedure that Ferencz performed.
Shapiro sued Ferencz and Ferencz's practice. Shapiro alleged that Ferencz failed to properly install the crowns and inlays, that Ferencz failed to obtain informed consent to the procedure, that the failures constituted malpractice, and that Ferencz's practice was vicariously liable for Ferencz's actions.
Shapiro claimed that he detected a popping sound during the procedure that Ferencz performed, and he contended that he experienced immediate, severe pain. Shapiro's expert odontologist opined that the sound and resultant pain were indicative of an injury that would have resulted from excessively forceful application of an inlay. The expert further opined that the injury was also a result of Ferencz's failure to properly review X-rays that had been performed prior to the procedure, and he contended that the entire procedure was unnecessary.
Shapiro also claimed that Ferencz had not disclosed that the procedure could have produced the injury that resulted. As such, Shapiro's counsel argued that Ferencz did not obtain informed consent to the procedure.
Ferencz contended that his treatment was an appropriate preventative measure necessitated by problems that included unacceptably large open margins in the fillings of two of Shapiro's teeth. He claimed that, had the procedure not been performed, Shapiro could have developed decay that would have necessitated a root-canal procedure and/or removal of the subject teeth. Defense counsel noted that, during a deposition, Shapiro acknowledged that the subject teeth may have been lost if the procedure had not been performed.
Ferencz also contended that the inlays were merely dropped in place; that force was not necessary. He claimed that force would have fractured the inlays.
Ferencz further contended that he obtained Shapiro's consent to the procedure. Defense counsel also noted that Shapiro had previously undergone a similar procedure, and, as such, he argued that Shapiro was aware of the procedure's associated risks.
Shapiro claimed that he suffers dislocation of his jaw's temporomandibular joint, and he contended that the dislocation caused permanent malocclusion: misalignment of his teeth. He claimed that he cannot eat food that has not been pureed or finely chopped. He also claimed that his jaw's pain necessitated his use of medication that ultimately caused gastrointestinal ulcers. He contended that he underwent about 50 dental treatments, including revisions of the crowns and inlays that Ferencz implanted.
Shapiro sought recovery of about $17,000 for his past medical expenses and unspecified damages for past and future pain and suffering.
Defense counsel contended that Shapiro's ulcers were caused by nonprescription medications that Shapiro used without a doctor's knowledge. The defense's expert pharmacologist opined that Ferencz's treatment would not have caused gastrointestinal ulcers.
The defense's expert prosthodontist opined that an MRI scan indicated that Shapiro does not suffer a dislocation of his jaw's temporomandibular joint. The expert contended that any dental pain is a result of arthritis and/or bruxism: clenching and grinding of teeth.
The jury rendered a defense verdict.
This report is based on information that was provided by defense counsel. Plaintiff's counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.