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Lawsuit accuses dentist of pulling wrong teeth.

Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard

A Eugene dentist is being sued for $1.75 million for allegedly pulling the wrong teeth during dental surgery on a 4-year-old boy two years ago.

The lawsuit claims that Eugene dentist and dental surgeon Gerald Harper mistakenly removed two of the boy's permanent teeth when he was supposed to remove two supernumerary teeth. Supernumerary teeth essentially are extra teeth that sometimes emerge among regular teeth.

The boy also endured postsurgical infection and other problems that require him to have a dental prosthesis followed by additional surgery when he is older, the lawsuit says. The suit also seeks an unspecified amount to cover past and future medical costs.

A call to Harper's office seeking comment on the suit was not returned.

The action was filed in Lane County Circuit Court by Khoi and Cherwyn Nguyen, the godparents of the boy, who is now 6. The couple were named as guardians for the purpose of the lawsuit, but the boy lives with his parents in Eugene, court documents say. They are represented by Lake Oswego attorney Mark Bocci.

According to the suit, the boy went to Harper for a second opinion on the treatment for two extra teeth that were growing between his top front incisors. In August 2011, Harper operated to remove the extra teeth.

But the lawsuit claims that during surgery he inadvertently removed two permanent teeth and left one of the supernumerary teeth behind. At that time, Harper allegedly tried to re-implant one of the permanent teeth.

About four months later, the boy developed an infection and went back to the dentist, when the alleged surgical errors were discovered, the lawsuit says.

By the following May, the infection had killed tissue in the area and the re-implanted tooth had died, and the boy required additional surgery, the lawsuit says.

Because of the lost permanent teeth and bone loss, the boy will have to wear a dental prosthetic until he is 18. After that, the lawsuit says further corrective surgery will be necessary.

The lawsuit accuses Harper of negligence for the claimed surgical mistakes and for failing to promptly diagnose and treat the postoperative infection, performing the surgery prematurely, using an improper surgical approach and failing to refer the boy to specialists to treat the infection.

No trial date has been set.
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Title Annotation:Courts
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 3, 2013
Words:388
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