Does the idea of a trained dentist dropping a tool down a patient’s throat during a root canal seem hard to swallow?
Well, imagine if you were the patient.
Two years ago, Chicago-area resident Janus Pawlowicz went to his long-time dentist for routine dental surgery.
Afterwards, he says he ended up with problems that were much, much worse, according to CBS Chicago.
During the surgery, the dentist, Dr. Beata Kozar-Warchalowska, noticed she was missing a particular tool needed for the procedure, and looked all around the room for it.
“The dentist, on the day of the procedure, knew that she dropped a tool but didn’t know what happened to it. She looked around the room and couldn’t find it,” Pawlowicz’s attorney, Rob Kohen, told ABC Chicago.
Pawlowicz said when she couldn’t find it, she sent him home without saying a word.
“She told me when she found it, she will be calling me,” Pawlowicz told the station.
Four days later, Pawlowicz started suffering severe stomach pains and went to the hospital.
An X-ray showed that he had swallowed a dental file known as a barbed breach and it was now lodged in his stomach, according to WGN TV.
Surgeons removed the tool, but Pawlowicz said he still has lingering problems because of the tool.
He sued his dentist and her firm, Gentle Dental of Des Plaines, Illinois, and received a $675,000 settlement earlier this week.
Kohen said that the dentist should have used a dental dam during the surgery to prevent the accidental ingestion.
“It’s rare that I’ve heard about, personally, but really what it comes down to is that this was completely preventable,” Kohen told CBS Chicago.
WGN TV reports that Dr. Kozar-Warchalowska has not been disciplined by the state for the error.
HuffPost reached out to Gentle Dental, but calls were not returned.