Families File Lawsuit Over Infection Outbreak at California Dental Clinic

November 8, 2016
Joe Hannan

In addition to malpractice, the civil suit levels allegations of fraud, stemming from reportedly unnecessary procedures, at the practice.

UPDATED:

Dental Clinic Cleared to Use Water After Removing Source of Outbreak.

In response to a recent outbreak of Mycobacterial abscessus that has sickened 57 children, a new class-action lawsuit accuses an Anaheim, CA children’s dental practice at the heart of the outbreak of malpractice and fraud.

The news of the lawsuit, which was reported by CBS Los Angeles, comes after the Orange County Health Care Agency determined the source of the infections to be the Children’s Dental Group’s water supply.

As previously reported by Dentist’s Money Digest, M. abscessus bacterium are typically found in dust, water, and soil, and are a common contaminator of medical devices. The bacteria can cause abscesses and infections of the skin, soft oral tissue, and bone. Infections typically require long courses of antibiotics to clear.

According to CBS, the civil suit, which was filed on Nov. 4, includes the families of 57 children who, since the exposure, have received treatment for mouth and neck abscesses that were the result of procedures such as pulpotomies.

While the malpractice allegations in the suit stem from the water contamination, the fraud allegations pertain to unnecessary procedures, the lawsuit alleges. CBS reports that parents were allegedly pressured into purchasing excessive or unnecessary dental work for their children.

Catherine Lombardo is the attorney representing the families in class-action suit. CBS quotes her as saying, “This is a high-volume, high-profit clinic that cares about one thing … money.” Lombardo also has said that a 6-year-old patient with autism underwent two pulpotomies without any local anesthetic, but instead was restrained, according to CBS.

The news agency did receive comment from the Children’s Dental Group regarding the lawsuit. They are quoted as saying:

“We provide this service and do this work because we care for children, and we deeply regret that any patient had complications following treatment here. We have not been served with any complaint.”

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