How Corona Virus is causing dental issues
Posted on 14th February 2020
The Coronavirus outbreak is big news at the moment and whilst some of the impacts are clear, such as foreign travel reducing, hospitals setting up specialist units and tracing movements of those infected, other impacts are less obvious. The British Dental Association has confirmed that some dentists, particularly at larger practices, may have to cease treatment as a result of a face-mask shortage. It is stipulated that when carrying out dental work, Dentists must wear a disposable face mask, this is not to protect against Coronavirus but a long standing and sensible protection against the dentist passing any kind of illness or infection to the patient they are treating due to the proximity to their bodily fluids necessary during dental treatment.
Despite there being a ‘stockpile’ of face masks, practices of all sizes are limited to ordering just 100 masks per day. Practices with just one or two dentists are unlikely to be affected by this but larger practices with several dentists, plus hygienists and any other specialist staff, are likely to see more than 100 patients per day between them, meaning that their stocks will be depleted, even if they order the maximum 100 masks per day. Quite simply, if there is no mask available, the Dentist is not permitted to treat a patient, regardless of the severity of any symptom, or the nature of the problem.
Adhering to such guidelines is what medical practitioners are expected to do and so, should they deviate from the same, each Dentist, or any other practitioner, could be held liable for a breach of duty to their patient and any damage, illness or injury they cause. MG Legal, your local medical negligence solicitor, handles a variety of medical negligence cases and we are well versed in the causes and results of medical negligence. Despite the news headlines, the Coronavirus is an unlikely infection to contract, however, there are a variety of other infections possible to be transmitted between individuals in close proximity, even by the simple exhalation of breath which contacts minute particles of moisture which can transmit infection.
The principle stems from the larger, general, obligation of all medical practitioners to follow their own training, guidelines of their governing bodies and to maintain a standard of care that was set in the case of Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee, a case heard at the High Court in 1957 that medical case must be of a standard in line, or above that, of a “proper by a responsible body of medical practitioners skilled in that particular art”. In short, if your medical practitioner does not meet this standard and you sustain an injury, it is highly likely you will have cause for a claim for medical negligence and compensation as a result.
This case law is all-encompassing and so it does not simply relate to face masks but to every single visit to any medical practitioner by each person. This is the ‘test’ that would apply in the event you brought a claim for negligence on the grounds that the standard of care was not of a proper level. This can include a variety of acts of negligence comprising, but not limited to, direct injuries, missed diagnoses, incorrectly advised treatment or incorrectly applied treatments.
MG Legal, your local medical negligence solicitor, handles a variety of medical negligence cases and we look to accept all instructions on the basis of a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) to ensure you have the access to legal representation throughout your claim. Should you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, please contact MG Legal, your local medical negligence solicitor, by phone, email, web-contact form of by dropping into any of our offices and we will look to assess your claim straight away.
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