Hodes Milman Ikuta, a firm specializing in professional negligence, filed a lawsuit on behalf of a young girl seriously injured by Children’s Dental Group, a private corporation that owns and operates 11 dental clinics throughout California. The plaintiff, an 8-year old girl, alleges that Children’s Dental Group performed a harmful, medically unnecessary procedure called a pulpotomy or “baby root canal” on one of her baby teeth. Severe infections caused by the procedure required the child to undergo multiple hospital stays and oral surgeries, ultimately requiring the removal of portions of her jaw and the extraction of several permanent teeth. She now has a central catheter placed to administer multiple antibiotics which will remain in place for the next five to eight months.
Children’s Dental Group is also accused of not following industry-standard protocols, procedures, and California regulations to ensure that the water used during procedures was clean, sanitary and free from harmful bacteria. As a result, water contaminated with Mycobacterium abscessus, a dangerous bacterium known to colonize improperly maintained water systems, was used on pediatric patients between March and September of 2016, causing severe infections in the plaintiff and dozens of other patients. Children’s Dental Group’s use of contaminated water during the unnecessary pulpotomies was particularly dangerous and harmful, as the procedures involving capping the teeth, trapping the bacteria-laden water inside. Still worse, plaintiff believes the evidence will show that at the time Children’s Dental Group performed the pulpotomy on her, they knew their water system was contaminated and had caused infections in other children, but did nothing warn their patients or fix the problem.
Daniel Hodes, lead counsel for plaintiff, commented that “My client in this case is an eight-year-old child. She’s suffered enormously because of this and will be left to endure the residual effects for the rest of her life. We are demanding answers from Children’s Dental Group.”
The vast majority of Children’s Dental Group patients are from low-income families covered by Denti-Cal. Denti-Cal provides payment to Children’s Dental Group for dental procedures, including the one performed on the plaintiff. The plaintiff believes the evidence will prove that Children’s Dental Group engages in a pattern and practice of maximizing the payments they from Denti-Cal by fraudulently convincing parents that their children require procedures which are in truth medically unnecessary.
The case includes causes of action for negligence, lack of informed consent, medical battery, intentional misrepresentation, concealment, negligent misrepresentation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence per se and premises liability.