ORAL CANCER SETTLEMENT
On April 14, 2016 we negotiated a very substantial oral cancer settlement for a client treated by dentists at a teaching dental clinic offering multiple services. Client exclusively treated with the clinic for all aspects of dental health. However, for over a year chronic sores on client’s tongue were either ignored, or not suspected as oral cancer. The sores continued to grow and developed into oral cancer. As the sores progressed to cancer they invaded beyond the tongue surfaces and spread to other areas of the neck (regional metastasis). When finally diagnosed by another clinic the patients’ disease was full blown oral cancer that had spread (metastasized), requiring extensive surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. Fortunately, client is currently cancer free following extensive treatments. The case was hotly contested in court, but after many depositions of the offending dentists, client’s case was very favorably resolved during extensive private resolution proceedings. The identities of the offending dentists remains confidential, because their significant payment to settle included money to maintain confidentially.
Any patient receiving regular dental care who becomes diagnosed with oral cancer should definitely question why the oral cancer was not diagnosed while simply a mouth/tongue sore long before advancing to actual cancer. Lesions that could become oral cancer are easily observable to the dentist during dental treatments. Oral cancer lesions are very curable when diagnosed as pre-cancer or in the earliest stages of actual cancer. There is no excuse for a dentist to ignore or miss signs of early pre-cancer lesions and immediately inform the patient, and refer the patient for immediate consultation and evaluation by a specialist.