On the spectrum of careers, dentists fall on the lucrative end in terms of earning potential. Understandably, there are reasons healthcare professionals are well compensated, including the level of on-the-job integrity they must uphold. Unfortunately for the patients of Dr. Henri Duyzend of Shoreline, Washington, the income of an honest dentist was not enough.
Dr. Duyzen currently faces allegations of gross misconduct as a medical provider and is being sued for malpractice by 200 of his former patients, according to King5 news, including Cheryl Grant, whose story is featured below.
13 Root Canals, 15 Years, One Suffering Patient
Cheryl Grant first came into Dr. Duyzend’s office more than two decades ago, because he was the only dentist who would accept her welfare medical coupons. Little did Grant know that she would spend thousands of dollars in Duyzend’s office on unwarranted procedures over the coming years.
Grant, now 55, and her two daughters became patients of Duyzend’s and continued to see him even after she obtained private healthcare. In the following 15 years as his patient, Grant followed all of Dr. Duyzend’s oral care advice, including regularly scheduled visits to his office. Despite her efforts, Grant’s medical bills were in the thousands as Dr. Duyzend performed root canal after root canal on her.
Perhaps it was her trust in the only dentist who would help her family when they were in need; perhaps it was the inherent trust that we all place in our healthcare providers. Whatever the reason, Grant only protested once to the 13 root canals she received as a patient of Dr. Duyzend. Grant felt like she was drowning in dental bills. When Duyzend retired in 2007, Grant refinanced her house in order to pay the $3,300 bill she owed the dentist, whom she considered a good friend.
It was only after Dr. David To, the dentist who took over Duyzend’s practice, questioned why she had received so many root canals that Grant began to realize she had been conned by Duyzend. After reviewing nearly every patient chart, Dr. To concluded that Cheryl Grant was not Dr. Duyzen’s only victim. According to Dr. To, many of the patients’ procedures were not only unwarranted, they were performed incorrectly, resulting in harm to the patients.
All the Necessary Components for a Malpractice Case
Cheryl’s case specifically illustrates all the key components for malpractice.
- Negligence or malicious intent. Dr. Duyzend knowingly performed invasive and unnecessary procedures on his patients for financial gain.
- Breach of standard of care. The dentist who took over Dr. Duyzend’s practice, Dr. David To, testified that much of the work done by Dr. Duyzend was done needlessly and was poorly executed.
- Physical and financial injury. Cheryl is now undergoing invasive and painful corrective procedures including extraction, bone grafting and oral surgery. Further, she has struggled to pay her dental bills for years.
Protect Yourself from Malpractice
Cheryl trusted her dentist, so she never sought a second opinion. Trusting in your medical team is a benefit, but that trust cannot be blind. Some of the most common malpractice areas are medication error, unnecessary and improperly performed procedures and misdiagnosis. Protect yourself from injury caused by medical malpractice with these tips:
- Ask questions. You have the right to know about your diagnosis and treatment. Do not be shy about asking questions until you fully understand and feel comfortable with the steps to be taken.
- Read labels. Check warning labels and information on conflicting medications. Make sure that the dosage reflects what you and your doctor discussed, and be clear on the details of medication use.
- Get a second opinion. If you have any doubts about the care you are receiving then go to another doctor. Getting multiple perspectives will either assure you of the validity of your treatment plan or reveal a possible error in diagnosis and/or treatment options.
Speak Out and Get Help
The victims of Dr. Duyzend are not only calling for financial retribution, but also for the protection of future Washington residents. Luckily, Duyzend voluntarily surrendered his license in 2010.
If you suspect that you are the victim of medical malpractice, please contact us immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. We offer a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys during which we will discuss your legal options.