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Michigan woman awarded $15M in dental malpractice lawsuit

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Pontiac, MI: A 61-year-old woman was awarded $15 million by a Michigan jury in a dental malpractice lawsuit after her dentist reportedly failed to diagnose a precancerous lesion.

However because of Michigan's cap on dental malpractice awards, Herta Hopton will only receive a fraction of the jury award, which will reportedly be $600,000, according to the Detroit News. Despite this, the victim's lawyer Robert Gittleman said his client feels "vindicated."

Dental Malpractice"Herta was a victim of stupidity," Gittleman told the News. "But she has the knowledge, she has the satisfaction, she has the vindication that this doctor unconscionably harmed her, and her fellow community members told him through this large award that he committed horrible malpractice."

Hopton was reportedly referred to Warran Vallerland, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, in May 2006 to evaluate and biopsy a white lesion in the bottom of her mouth. A biopsy was not done at that time.

In November 2006, Hopton returned to Vallerland complaining of pain and a biopsy was done which then confirmed she had invasive skin cancer that had reached stage four.
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READER COMMENTS

Posted by
karen s.
on
It is now April and I have yet to get an answer from anyone. I need help over here. I've been back to my dentist since my last post. Was seen by him and was told he cracked my bridge w/the amalgam filling and need to replace it. My insurance will pay $1700 and my balance will be just over $500! I have an appointment at 2 o'clock today. Now what?!?!

Posted by
Karen S.
on
My dental records state clearly my allergies to metals, thus all my fillings are composites. A year ago I began getting migraines and saw my private doctor about it. She said it was an abscess and sent me to my private dentist. Dentist saw no issue and nobody could explain the debilitating pain on my right side of face or the extreme numbness on my entire left side of my body. Back in doc's office, she scheduled me for x-rays, to no avail. Since it was going on well over three months without reprieve, doc sent me back to the dentist. Still nothing, back to the doctor's office. She scheduled me for neurology spot. Nothing. Back to my doc's office.
By now, I have shelled out many hundreds of dollars, all for naught. Back to the dentist, third trip. Turns out I needed a root canal. Because so much time had lapsed from discovery to dental recovery, the damage was done. My dentist's office wrongly read from the wrong patient files to help understand the goings on of my symptoms. Twice that I know of. The two times I noticed the wrong patient records was by sheer accident. My file was on a cabinet near my dental chair. No big deal, it was my file and I would have expected to see it in the room. Wrong patient. The next room over had my file and I had her file. The mistake was brushed off because I caught it in time. This was not the first negligent error made toward me. It was the second. Which explains why my dentist adamantly denied me medical attention in the months prior. He did not look in my mouth to be sure, instead, he just perused my x-rays. Within days I had trapped back and forth, doctor to dentist, back to square one. No answers. Only more questions. Eventually I got the root canal I desperately needed just to survive day to day. Much better. I cannot believe the time and cost spent for a simple resolution. Wrong again.
As stated earlier, I have noted in my dental records my extreme allergies to metals. The post used in my root canal was metal. The cap used to cover is amalgam. I'm susceptible to blood poisoning, and now I have a gaping wound full of mercury, tin, copper, etc., open to all sorts of infections, inside my mouth, leading straight to my brain from the top jaw. Certain as I was this would be the end all, be all, cure all (my dentist's words), I was elated knowing shortly I wasn't going to hurt anymore. Wrong. This all began February, 2013. It is March, 2014, a year later, the pain is just as debilitating, made even worse with dental tools I am allergic to. I have blood poison now because my dentist is negligent. In my file, specifically, no metal appliances will be used, including amalgams. At the filling appt recently he did not mention the materials. Nor should he have had to. I've been going to this dental office for four years now. Not one cap or filling is anything other than composite. I was advised to learn to cope, other than pulling my teeth, this is how it's going to be from here on out.
My dentist's negligence is why I am asking for your help. Who do I need to turn to for dental malpractice?
Thank you for your time and consideration in my plight. I look forward to your response soon.

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