Imagine being 28 years old and going to the dentist for a relatively routine procedure to have a wisdom tooth extracted when instead the end result following the procedure is lifelong numbness and tingling, accompanied by continuous, unending excruciating pain in the lower part of your face and mouth. For Plaintiff Kerry Stolte this was more than something to be imagined, this was her reality after the Defendant Dentist M. James Fagan, III severed her lingual nerve during a dental procedure that was simply meant to remove her wisdom tooth.
Imagine further that after three (3) oral surgeries that have made your situation worse instead of better, approximately four (4) years of painstaking litigation, and two (2) lengthy jury trials that a video surveillance tape surfaces taken by the Defendant’s investigators showing you doing yard work that now creates an issue of whether or not you are a credible witness, and whether or not you should be impeached at trial which could potentially bar you from any recovery if seen in the wrong light by the jury. All the while you are not relieved of the pain and suffering that you have endured for the past four (4) years that is most likely going to last for the rest of your life.
This was the scene in a Dental Malpractice Case in a Fulton County, Georgia Courtroom during a retrial of a Dental Malpractice case that began on September 22 when the defense presented said surveillance video of the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff did not take this evidence lightly, however, and understandably fought back by calling a Professor of said Defendant Dentist as a rebuttal witness to testify whether or not the procedure used by the dentist was taught by said Professor in dental school.
It became apparent that said procedure had not been taught in dental school since the said procedure was a high risk procedure and had the potential to cause the lingual nerve to be severed as was the case with this Plaintiff in this cause of action. In fact, it was further discovered that none of the witnesses had ever heard of a dental school teaching this particular procedure.
This discovery started such a heated debate that even after the defense raised several objections to the admissibility of this particular witnesses’ testimony that the Defendant Dentist took it upon himself to shout an obscenity in the courtroom. Fortunately for the Defendant, the obscenity was during a court recess and not during open court.