Chelyan man accuses dentist of medical malpractice

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 22, 2011

CHARLESTON -- A Chelyan man is suing his dentist after he claims he was negligent in caring for him when he had mouth pain.

On June 2, 2009, Kenneth Ray Atkinson presented to the office of Dr. Antoine E. Skaff, D.D.S., with severe pain in the lower left side of his mouth and the defendant extracted three teeth from the area, according to a complaint filed July 28 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Atkinson claims Skaff did not take any x-rays, nor did he prescribe any antibiotics for him.

The pain in Atkinson's mouth did not stop and from June 3, 2009, until June 8, 2009, he called and complained to the dentist's office and requested an appointment, but Skaff refused to schedule him an appointment, according to the suit.

On June 9, 2009, Atkinson claims Skaff examined him and discovered part of the root of one of the extracted teeth was still in his mouth. Atkinson claims Skaff apologized and scheduled him for surgery the following day.

On June 10, 2009, Atkinson had a seizure and was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center, where it was discovered that he had an abscess in the left side of his brain, according to the suit.

Two days later, Atkinson claims another CAT scan showed that the abscess had moved to the right side of his brain and had to have emergency surgery because he became unresponsive. Atkinson remained in intensive care until June 26, 2009.

Skaff owed a duty to Atkinson to exercise a degree of care, skill and learning required or expected of a reasonably prudent dentist and breached that duty when he failed to remove the roots from Atkinson's teeth that were extracted, according to the suit.

Atkinson claims the pain continued, but the defendant refused to schedule him another appointment until June 9, 2009, and on that day he took x-rays, which showed that he failed to remove part of the root from one of the teeth he extracted. Skaff apologized and scheduled Atkinson for surgery the next day, according to the suit. Atkinson suffered a seizure the next day and it was confirmed at Charleston Area Medical Center that he had an abscess in the left side of his brain. Atkinson claims the defendant was negligent in caring for him and not providing him with antibiotics.

Atkinson is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Marc B. Lazenby.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charles E. King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-1245

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