Berkeley man blames dentist for wife's death

By Beth Henry | Mar 9, 2006

MARTINSBURG -- A Berkeley County man is suing his dead wife's dentist, claiming his wife died because the dentist extracted seven of her teeth without reasonable care.

MARTINSBURG -- A Berkeley County man is suing his dead wife's dentist, claiming his wife died because the dentist extracted seven of her teeth without reasonable care.

In a suit filed Feb. 22 by attorney Laura Faircloth, Dennis Nails says his wife Nora Nails died just a few hours after her teeth were removed by Donald Patthoff.

The suit claims Patthoff knew about Nora Nails' numerous medical problems, such as blood pressure issues, allergies, heart trouble and asthma, but he failed to properly warn Nails or her primary care physician of the risks involved with teeth extraction.

The suit claims Patthoff was negligent and careless when he extracted Nails' teeth on Feb. 23, 2004, and sent her home without any warning of potential complications. Nails died a few hours later from respiratory aspiration and/or distress that could have been controlled in a hospital setting.

The plaintiff says Patthoff should have received clearance from his wife's primary care physician and performed the procedure in a hospital setting.

The suit claims, "The Defendant's failure to follow the accepted standard of care required of his profession substantially increased the risk of harm and death to Nora Nails which was a substantial factor in bringing about her death."

Dennis Nails, as executor of his wife's estate, is seeking at least $16,927 for medical and funeral expenses, as well as a reasonable amount of compensation for the sorrow, mental anguish and loss he has endured since his wife's death.

A jury trial is requested, and the case has been assigned to Berkeley Circuit Court Judge David H. Sanders.

Berkeley Circuit Court case number: 06-C-130

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