Alleged Dental Negligence Lead to Death

By Blackwater Law

Enquiries are in progress into the death of Amy Duffield, 23, after dental treatment by dentist Desmond D’Mello.

It seems that alleged dental negligence took place in terms of hygiene levels in the surgery.

Police in Nottinghamshire are said to be making enquires into Amy’s unexpected death last year, following an NHS patient recall of 22,000 of Mr. D’Mello’s patients who have been told to take a blood test for HIV and hepatitis.

This scare is believed to be the largest ever NHS patient recall. The General Dental Council has suspended Mr. D’Mello since claims have come to light that he breached safety standards at his Nottingham surgery, thereby putting his patients at risk.

Four months ago regulators found he was storing dental equipment in the lavatory, reusing dirty equipment and not bothering to change his gloves between seeing different patients. Questions are now being asked why it has taken the NHS so long to act on these findings.

Claims have been made that in some morning sessions Mr. D’Mello would see as many as 40 patients and that to save time he would use the same equipment and gloves, this took place over his career of 32 years. Alongside these allegations there is secret video evidence taken in June where he was shown to be disregarding even basic hygiene as he treated his patients.

Amy Duffield died in hospital last August 22nd 2013 three days after flu-like symptoms and heart palpitations began; her cause of death at the time was recorded as viral acute myocarditis. Amy had received treatment by Mr. D’Mello at Daybrook Dental Surgery in Mansfield Road, just ten days before she died.

Detectives are now working in close contact with the NHS to establish any possible links between the death and dental treatment she received. Nottinghamshire police stressed the investigation is on behalf of the local coroner and is not technically a criminal investigation. Amy’s mother described her as ‘really, really special’.

It is worth mentioning that police enquiries were made into the death of another woman, aged 29, who died in August last year who received treatment the same month of Amy’s death. No evidence was found to suggest any links between her treatment and her death.

“A criminal investigation is not underway; there is no link between the death of one of these patients and suspected hygiene practices that have been identified. The enquiry into the second patient is ongoing.”

The public appeal made by health chiefs in an attempt to trace every patient who had received treatment from Mr. D’Mello in his 32 years as a dentist is thought to be the biggest in British history.

An hour after the announcement of the recall, worried patients began queuing at the emergency walk-in clinic set up for them involving the undertaking of blood tests.

Although Mr. D’Mello is not infected with any viruses himself his alleged failure to meet clinical standards may have put his patients at “low risk” of infection.

Dr. Black has apologised to the thousands of patients involved in the recall, “we are extremely sorry for the undoubted worry and concern”, and “the alleged drop in clinical standards may have put people at a low risk of infection from hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Therefore as a precautionary measure, we are advising all patients who have seen Mr. D’Mello to seek further advice on what action they may need to take.” Concerns have been made that the breaches of safety standards in D’Mello’s career at the clinic could date back decades.

The Care Quality Commission inspectors launched a surprise visit on the clinic in July this year where it failed to meet cleanliness and infection control standards, “the staff lavatory and the room next to the lavatory were being used as store rooms for equipment”, this posed a risk of contact with potentially contaminated body fluids. This was a risk that had not been identified by staff at the surgery and no action had been taken to minimise it.

Blackwater Law has a team of dedicated solicitors who have a wealth of experience in achieving dental negligence compensation claims. If you or a family member have suffered a poor level of care from the NHS or any other dental surgeries, then call Blackwater Law for free initial advice on making a compensation claim for medical negligence.