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€255k High Court Payment for Negligence by Dentist

A woman, who claimed her dental treatment had been negligent and resulted in years of pain and suffering, has won her claim and been awarded 255,000 Euros in a high court payment for negligence by a dentist.

Esther Hammond (61) of Rathcoole, County Dublin, made her dental negligence claim against registered dental surgeon Brendan Bastible of Greenhills, Dublin, from whom she had first been treated in May 1991 for a loose crown that had been fitted by another dentist.

Mr Bastible had treated the woman for the loose crown, filled several cavities in other teeth and treated her for the gum disease periodontitis. However, it was when Mr Bastible applied braces to her upper jaw in November 1991, and lower jaw in 1993, that Esther’s issues began.

Mr Justice John Quirke at the High Court heard that the wires which held the braces together regularly snapped, causing lacerations within Esther’s mouth which resulted in significant pain and affected her day to day life. Esther also said that her dental problems also affected her relationship with her family and led to psychological problems, which still persist today.

Expert witnesses testified in court that the fitting of the braces was inappropriate at the time and Esther’s legal representatives advised the judge that Mr Bastible was not qualified to perform orthodontic treatment of this nature. It was also confirmed by a medical expert that it would take five more years of dental treatment until the physical damage done by Mr Bastible would be a thing of the past.

In making his judgement, Mr Justice John Quirke stated that he was satisfied that the treatment Esther was given was indeed negligent and that it fell below the standards required of a practicing dental surgeon. He awarded Esther 170,000 Euros in general damages, 50,000 Euros to take into account future pain and suffering while undergoing remedial treatment and 35,000 Euros to compensate for past and future special damages – a total of 255,000 Euros.