Visit to dentist led to 20 years' pain for patient

Aoife Finneran

A WOMAN who suffered to an almost "unbearable extent" after being fitted with braces by her dentist has been awarded €255,000 by the High Court.

Esther Hammond (61) of Redgap, Rathcoole, Co Dublin, brought proceedings against registered dental surgeon Brendan Bastible, who treated her at his surgery in Greenhills between 1991 and 1995.

The court heard that as a consequence of the dentist's negligence, Mrs Hammond's life and lifestyle had been diminished to an extraordinary degree.

Mrs Hammond first attended the dental surgeon on in 1991 to seek treatment for a loose crown which had been applied by another dental surgeon.

The defendant confirmed the relevant crown was loose and there were cavities in her teeth which required attention. He also found she was missing several teeth and was suffering from the gum disease periodontitis.

Mr Justice John Quirke said that all the expert witnesses (other than the defendant) who testified had agreed it was inappropriate to apply braces to Mrs Hammond's upper jaw in November 1991 and to her lower jaw in 1993. He said her life and lifestyle had been grossly diminished during the past 20 years.

Mr Bastible had no qualification in 1991 to enable him to properly embark on orthodontic procedures of the kind he attempted on Mrs Hammond, the judge said.

Mrs Hammond will now also have to endure a further five years during which she will require more treatment.

In his defence, Mr Bastible denied that he had been negligent in the manner alleged and claimed that Mrs Hammond was guilty of contributory negligence in failing to mitigate her injuries and losses.