Warning Issued Regarding Risks And Complexities Of Such Treatment
A Staffordshire woman who suffered problems following dental treatment abroad is urging people to conduct thorough research after lawyers secured a settlement in her case.
Jackie Stokes spent a significant amount of her savings on dental implants in Hungary after a dentist advised her to have them fitted. However, such a procedure was unavailable on the NHS. Jackie consulted private dentists who advised her that they could perform the treatment in either London or Hungary, using the same dentists, but that treatment in Hungary would be less expensive.
After the implants failed and some of her healthy teeth were damaged, Jackie, of Burton-on-Trent, instructed specialist international cosmetic surgery lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate.
The 70-year-old has now joined her legal team in encouraging people to be aware of the complexities and risks of travelling abroad for elective procedures. Jackie also wishes to raise awareness of the fact that the current regulatory regime allows dental clinics to cease trading and then reappear under a new name in order to avoid legal claims arising from potentially negligent treatment.
It comes after the insurance company for two dentists involved in her care in Hungary agreed to pay a five-figure settlement. The pair denied liability.
Jackie had originally contacted a UK-based company and believed that the dentists would be employed by that firm.
Expert Opinion“Jackie has endured an incredibly difficult few years after being advised to consider dental implants.
“We believe that there are worrying aspects to this case and the problems Jackie has suffered have had a major impact on her life. While nothing will change what she has been through, we hope this settlement will provide her with welcome support.” Cheryl Palmer-Hughes - Partner and Head of our International Serious Injury Desk
Expert Opinion“We would always urge anyone seeking cosmetic surgery abroad to ensure they understand all aspects of the treatment, including any potential risks, those involved in the treatment and details regarding the insurance which is in place to cover potential claims for compensation in case things go wrong. Anyone with concerns regarding such treatment should also seek legal advice as soon as possible.” Daniel Matchett - Associate Solicitor
Jackie was advised by a dentist to have implants fitted in 2012 and, after speaking with a friend who had undergone similar treatment, she was eventually put in touch with a UK-based company which arranged for dental treatment abroad.
Following an assessment, it was determined that she would need five teeth removed, with five implants being fitted and crowns being added to eight others. She was also informed the treatment would take place in the UK as well as during two trips to Budapest.
However, Jackie went on to suffer a range of issues during the treatment between2012 and 2015, including severe pain and discomfort. She became concerned when her front jaw was protruding, leaving a gap between her gums and upper teeth through which food would seep. She also said implants placed under her nose went into the nasal cavity and left her in agony.
The implants failed and were later removed. In total, Jackie said she had more than 25 visits to dentists over a number of years.
Following her treatment abroad and before her case settled, Jackie needed dentures because she was unable to afford the costly repairs.
Jackie could undergo reparative treatment now to replace the implants, although it will be more complicated than it would have been initially as the previous work will need to be undone.
Within legal proceedings, Irwin Mitchell argued that inadequate checks were carried out in relation to bone density and that as a result implants were placed in the front of her upper jaw when there was insufficient density in the bone there. Furthermore, she struggled to come to terms with her appearance and also suffered emotional trauma as a result of her experience.
An added complication was also the lack of clarity in relation to the companies and individuals she was dealing with.
She said: “I had spoken to a friend who had this kind of treatment in Hungary and he gave me contact details.
“Throughout my treatment I was always under the impression I was dealing with an English company, which meant any support would be under the eye of the General Dental Council.
“However, as issues began to emerge, it became apparent that the company did not want to accept responsibility for the actions of the dentists in Hungary and I became angry and upset that nobody had told me that the treatment I received in Hungary would be provided by a different, Hungarian, company. The whole experience was a nightmare and that confusion just added another layer of difficulty to everything I was going through.
“I wouldn’t wish what I’ve faced on anyone and would urge people to not just assume everything is as it seems when they arrange such treatment. Proper research is vital, as it will ensure you are able to make an informed decision about how to proceed with any treatment. No one should have to go through what I have.”
Find out more about our expertise in helping people following surgery and medical treatment abroad at our medical negligence abroad section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.