LOCAL MAN RECEIVES £77,000 AFTER SUFFERING DECADES OF DENTAL HELL AND THE LOSS OF 16 TEETH
• 60-year-old Timothy Schofield, from Burnley, Lancashire, will lose 16 teeth after consistent botched treatment from his dentist • Dentist failed to treat decay, undertook poor root canal treatment and fitted inadequate dental bridges and crowns • Mr Schofield has suffered decades of ongoing dental problems including excruciating toothache and infections, and has spent endless time at the dentist • £77,000 agreed in compensation
Timothy Schofield, a 60-year-old community support worker from Burnley, Lancashire, has been awarded £77,000 in compensation from his local dentist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership. Mr Schofield suffered a 30-year ordeal that saw him make hundreds of trips to the dentist. He will lose a total of 16 teeth and has undergone many other procedures including fillings, root canal treatments, crowns and bridgework that never seemed to stop the pain or infections he was suffering from.
Mr Schofield first saw Dr Robert G.Rushworth at Coal Clough Dental in Burnley, in October 1986.
“I was a young man when I first started seeing Dr Rushworth,” Mr Schofield said. “This was when the never ending problems with my teeth started. I was soon visiting Dr Rushworth multiple times a year, as there always seemed to be something wrong. In hindsight it was strange, but I suppose I just started to believe I had bad teeth. You put your trust in dentists as professionals, so each time Dr Rushworth said something was wrong and I needed treatment I went along with it. I thought he knew best, so I listened to him.”
Mr Schofield had approximately 100 fillings placed while he was Dr Rushworth’s patient. Between 1986 and 2015 the dentist even placed 29 fillings at the same tooth before eventually extracting it.
“Each time Dr Rushworth did a filling I thought ‘hopefully that will be it this time’ and the toothache I was suffering from would stop,” Mr Schofield recalled. “But the problems were just never ending. As soon as I had a filling at one tooth another would flare up and I’d have to go back to Dr Rushworth for another filling or root canal treatment. Then problems at the same teeth would start all over again and the treatment would have to be repeated.”
One particularly painful experience Mr Schofield recalled, was after Dr Rushworth fitted a bridge in 2012.
“It felt loose and poorly fitted,” Mr Schofield said. “My mouth swelled up and became infected. I was in so much pain I couldn’t sleep. But when I went back to complain to Dr Rushworth he just prescribed antibiotics. I had so many courses of antibiotics. On so many occasions Dr Rushworth prescribed antibiotics and painkillers when I had toothache, but they never made any difference. And as I discovered later, they could never have addressed my underlying problems.”
Over the years Mr Schofield continued to suffer from excruciating toothache and abscesses. The dentist undertook root canal treatment, placed fillings, crowns and dental bridges, and extracted five of Mr Schofield’s teeth.
“It didn’t seem to matter what treatment I had, the problems just kept returning,” Mr Schofield said. “Putting all the agony aside I think I had well over 200 appointments with Dr Rushworth over the decades. I was wasting so much time travelling to and from appointments, missing work and having to make up the hours at the end of the day. I was using my annual leave for dental appointments, and I dread to think how much it all cost me. It was ruining my life.”
The extent of Mr Schofield’s dental problems were only revealed in 2015 when he finally saw a new dentist, due to Dr Rushworth’s retirement from his dental practice.
“My new dentist told me on first examination how bad my teeth and gums looked,” Mr Schofield explained. “The dentist showed me X-rays of how damaged my teeth were from decay. The dentist suggested seeking further consultation, so I went to a local independent dental practice. The practice produced a long report listing all the things that were wrong with them. This was when I started to realise that I should have seen a different dentist much sooner.”
Mr Schofield contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of his dental records revealed that Dr Rushworth had consistently failed to spot and treat decay. Instead of treating it the dentist had just placed fillings or crowns over it and prescribed antibiotics. He had also failed to use reasonable skill and care when supposedly treating 15 of Mr Schofield’s teeth. The dentist continuously botched fillings, root canal treatment, crowns and bridgework. Dr Rushworth’s failure to provide adequate treatment led to the excruciating pain, infections, loss of teeth and significant inconvenience Mr Schofield experienced. Mr Schofield now faces years of corrective treatment.
“I went through all this because I trusted Dr Rushworth,” Mr Schofield said. “It’s soul destroying really. I’m having as much of Dr Rushworth’s work corrected as possible, but it will take years. My self-esteem is at rock bottom. One of the worst procedures was having the bridgework and infected, rotten teeth underneath it removed, which was very painful. I’ve just had 11 dental appointments in six weeks for the corrective work. I have to say my new dentists have been fantastic, but even now this is still taking up a huge amount of my time. I picked up dentures on my sixtieth birthday, which is never how I imagined spending it. I hope it really will all be over soon, and I can stop wasting my time at countless dental appointments. It’s been a never ending nightmare.”
Heather Owen of The Dental Law Partnership commented: “The distress and pain our client experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentist had provided adequate treatment in the first place all his suffering could have been avoided.”
The Dental Law Partnership took on Mr Schofield’s case in 2017. The case was successfully settled in July 2018 when the dentist paid a total of £77,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentist denied liability.