An Illinois man´s compensation claim for a dentist dropping a surgical instrument down his throat has been resolved with a negotiated settlement of $675,000.
On October 1, 2014, Janusz Pawlowicz (64) from Des Plains in Cook County, Illinois, attended Gentle Dental Services Ltd. where he was due to undergo the first of a two-part root canal procedure performed by Beata Kozar-Warchalowska.
Janusz´s treatment required the use of local anesthesia and multiple dental tools, including a barbed broach – which, during the procedure, Kozar-Warchalowska dropped. Believing the surgical instrument had fallen onto the floor, the dentist continued with the treatment.
However, when Janusz returned for the second part of his treatment on October 10, he complained to Kozar-Warchalowska of nausea and abdominal pain. He subsequently attended the Resurrection Medical Center, where a stomach x-ray revealed the presence of the missing broach.
Janusz underwent an endoscopy and a laparoscopy before the surgical instrument was eventually removed via a resection of his small bowel. He was transferred to Loyola Medical Center to recover for three weeks, but subsequently developed an ileus and was placed on a liquid diet for the next two months.
After seeking legal advice, Janusz made a claim for a dentist dropping a surgical instrument down his throat, alleging that Kozar-Warchalowska had departed from the expected standard of care while performing a root canal treatment. He also sued Gentle Dental Services, Ltd. for being vicariously liable for the dentist´s actions.
Both Kozar-Warchalowska and Gentle Dental Services Ltd contested the claim for a dentist dropping a surgical instrument down his throat, arguing that there had been no deviation from the expected standard of care. However, an offer of settlement was forthcoming, amounting to $250,000.
Janusz´s lawyers considered that the injuries he had suffered should be valued at $1 million, and a hearing for the assessment of damages was scheduled for the Cook County District Court before Judge John P. Callahan Jr. However, before the hearing began, a settlement of the claim was negotiated amounting to $650,000 to account for Janusz´s past and future loss of normal life, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, as well as damages for permanent disfigurement for an abdominal surgery scar.