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Quintessence Publishing: Journals: ORTHODONTICS
ORTHODONTICS
The Art and Practice of Dentofacial Enhancement

Formerly World Journal of Orthodontics

Edited by
Rafi Romano, DMD, MSc (Editor-in-Chief)

ISSN 2160-2999 (print) / ISSN 2160-3006 (online)

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Publication:
Spring 2001
Volume 2 , Issue 1

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The $4.4 Million Case

Donald G. Woodside, CM, DDS, MSc(D), PhD (hc), FDSRCS (Eng), FRCD (C)

Pages: 10-20

Editors Note: With the increasing exposure to television advertisements by contingency fee lawyers, appealing to those who may think they have been injured, promising lottery-size awards (And it wont cost you anything, if we dont win), the public has responded by increasing the number of malpractice suits already clogging the court dockets. But this is only part of the story. Many more suits are filed than actually tried. Most are settled by insurance companies for nuisance value, since it costs more to fight them than settle. California is literally a gold mine and the lawyers know this, particularly in highly litigious cases involving obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, and whiplash claims and other orthopedic problems. It is common knowledge that insurance companies build the malpractice costs into the premiums paid by the medical and dental profession. The risk-management costs have escalated exponentially for all fields, and orthodontics and orthognathic surgery have not been spared. This poignant article by Dr Woodside shows the financial, emotional, and psychological trauma for an orthodontist, even when the orthodontic treatment was excellent, and clearly at or above standard of care. Doctor, you, too, can be sued! This is no longer an American phenomenon, but is growing like a cancer around the globe. It behooves the orthodontist to follow the fundamental risk-management procedures of informed consent, complete records, progress reports, and constant communication with the patient, parents, and referring dentists. All parties will benefit. --T.M. Graber

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