Christopher Stephenson successfully represented a woman in the High Court last week in her claim against her former dentist for his failure to treat her over a period of 20 years. Holroyde J found that Dr Patel’s significant breaches of duty over a prolonged period of time caused her to develop gum disease which went untreated despite regular attendances upon him. The Claimant eventually developed an odontic abscess that seeded infection in her brain, causing a brain abscess which nearly killed her. Fortunately she made a good recovery from her neurological injuries, but lost 6 teeth that she would otherwise have kept.
The Judge accepted the Claimant’s case that but for the breaches of duty she would on the balance of probability have given up smoking and maintained good oral hygiene such that the disease would have stabilised. Further, the Judge accepted the alternative submission that the Dr Patel’s breaches of duty materially contributed to her injuries and that chronic adult periodontitis is an indivisible disease, although he decided the causation issue on the simple ‘but for’ test in the Claimant’s favour. The Claimant beat her own Part 36 Offer, with consequential costs awards made in her favour.
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