Dentist dropped not one but two dental tools down patient’s throat

From Fox News 18/07/09:

A central Florida dentist is being sued for allegedly dropping tools down the throat of an elderly patient — twice.

Relatives of 90-year-old Charles Gaal Jr. recently filed the suit in Orange County Circuit Court against Dr. Wesley Meyers for neglience. An answering message at his Winter Park office Saturday said he was on vacation.

The lawsuit says the doctor dropped an "implant screwdriver tool" in 2006 and a "mini-wrench" in 2007.

The suit also says Gaal underwent multiple medical procedures to remove the tools but never fully recovered. He suffered a cardiac event in June 2007 and died a few days later.

Meyers was fined $17,000 by the state a year later. Meyers was found negligent in a settlement.

As Oscar Wilde might have put it, for a dentist to lose one implement down his patient’s throat may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.

What I don’t understand is how. I actually did my work experience at various dental practices including an orthodontist and with a maxillofacial surgeon. But even from my observations with regular dentists, when much work was being done, particularly where small implements were going to be used (such as in a root canal treatment) the dentist always fitted a dental dam which isolated the tooth or teeth to be worked on and which prevented anything dropping down the patient’s throat.

Dental Dam I remember being told that dental dams were very ‘big’ in America and it was common practice to use one for anything more complicated than the simplest of fillings. I’m amazed, therefore, that Meyers didn’t make use of a dental dam here which would have prevented this tragic event from ever occurring.

The full story is truly disturbing: the 90 year old patient, Mr Gaal, spent over 50 days in hospital before his death from complications stemming from the second implement dropped down his throat.


  1. Ah no, poor guy!! That is distrubing, its bad enough having to visit a Dentist without hearing stories like this!

  2. Damn true, Pooni. I know most people range from mild dislike to fainting fits at the thought of visiting a dentist.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I HATE going to the dentist. The very thought of having to go and to see one absolutely terrifies me...


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