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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Dentist Keeps Two Secrets Too Many

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A news story from the Gulf Coast of Florida tells us how a dental malpractice case uncovered two secrets that should never have been kept from a patient. We ought to be able to trust our healthcare providers. But, this North Florida patient is living in pain and the fear of AIDS because that trust was betrayed.

Betrayal of Trust?

Putting your trust in a medical professional is one of the most important decisions you can make. So, what happens when you later find out that trust has been betrayed?

A Gulf Coast woman says a trip to the dentist turned into the nightmare of her life.

The paperwork on the malpractice lawsuit was mounting and in 2004, a new development! Dr. Roth died! The dentist’s death certificate obtained by News 5’s Tiffany Craig revealed the most disturbing news of all.

What you’re about to hear is why she’s keeping her identity a secret. “Do you have any idea what your dentist died of? I said no. I thought he had some type of nervous condition brain problem. He said that on his death certificate, he was HIV positive and he died of AIDS.” If there was any trust left, it was now gone. “I’m thinking Oh My God. I have 5 grandchildren. I have two daughters. I have a husband. If there’s any way at all that I’ve been infected then certainly they could be too. I’m thinking Oh My God, what has happened here.”

A patient shouldn’t have to go in with a list of questions and ask the doctor or dentist, do you any contagious diseases? Are you capable of practicing? Have you filed a claim for disability? We ought to be able to trust our healthcare providers. This patient says hopefully her story will save others from the loss of trust she’ll never get back.

A news story from the Gulf Coast of Florida tells us how a dental malpractice case uncovered two secrets that should never have been kept from a patient. We ought to be able to trust our healthcare providers. But, this North Florida patient is living in pain and the fear of AIDS because that trust was betrayed.

Betrayal of Trust?

Putting your trust in a medical professional is one of the most important decisions you can make. So, what happens when you later find out that trust has been betrayed?

A Gulf Coast woman says a trip to the dentist turned into the nightmare of her life.

Her root canal caused a lot of pain but it was what happened after that will make this patient ache forever. “I went back home and couple of days later I felt horrible. The pain was excruciating. I couldn’t stand the pain even with the medicine he had given me. My mouth everything was throbbing. My lip was burning underneath. My eye was numb. I mean, it was a pain I never had before.”

Her dentist was Dr. Charles Roth. He practiced for more than a dozen years in Mobile and his dental office was on Cottage Hill Road. “I kept calling him everyday. I’m in so much pain I cant stand it. You’ve got to do something. Everything’s hurting. He kept telling me that it would work itself out that maybe I had a little nerve damage and it would correct itself in 6 months. I trusted him and put up with the pain.”

For years, she battled that pain with strong medicine but it never went away. “It changed my life drastically. I went from a happy go lucky person to being in pain every minute of my life. That is very hard to learn to deal with.” So in 2003, she filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against her dentist.

Her lawyers started looking into the case and found that two years before her surgery, Roth filed for complete disability with his insurance company. In documents obtained by News 5’s Tiffany Craig, his claim says that he was “unable to sit in the positions required to perform dental procedures for any extended period of time” and that “even my ability to handle simple things like diagnosis and treatment plans are compromised by my narrowed ability to concentrate.” He was denied disability and News 5 obtained the lawsuit showing he sued his insurance company. Even though they reportedly settled out of court, Dr. Roth went back to work! The patient’s attorney, Pete Burns explains. “The insurance company denied his claim for disability based upon a pre-existing condition they claimed that his back problems existed before they wrote the policy. I think he was under financial pressure to continue practicing.”

The paperwork on the malpractice lawsuit was mounting and in 2004, a new development! Dr. Roth died! The dentist’s death certificate obtained by News 5’s Tiffany Craig revealed the most disturbing news of all.

What you’re about to hear is why she’s keeping her identity a secret. “Do you have any idea what your dentist died of? I said no. I thought he had some type of nervous condition brain problem. He said that on his death certificate, he was HIV positive and he died of AIDS.” If there was any trust left, it was now gone. “I’m thinking Oh My God. I have 5 grandchildren. I have two daughters. I have a husband. If there’s any way at all that I’ve been infected then certainly they could be too. I’m thinking Oh My God, what has happened here.”

She has been tested and the results keep coming back negative but she will keep getting tested. Now, she wants others to make sure they know who they are putting their trust in. “Did I know any of that? No. I was not given right to know any of that. I was not an informed patient. Did I know to ask any of those questions? Certainly not. I trusted him.” Her lawyer, Pete Burns believes no patient should have to go through this. “A patient shouldn’t have to go in with a list of questions and ask the doctor or dentist, do you any contagious diseases? Are you capable of practicing? Have you filed a claim for disability? We ought to be able to trust our healthcare providers. This patient says hopefully her story will save others from the loss of trust she’ll never get back.