Australasian Dental Practice

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01 Nov 2009 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Landmark US lawsuit

Dental technicians who have been working with the understanding that they are protected from lawsuits by patients because they are following the prescription of a dentist, will be interested to hear of the upcoming court appearance by well-known US dental technician, Lee Culp. Mr Culp made crowns larger than he would have recommended at the direct request of the dentist and patient only to find a year later that he was being sued, along with the dentist, for damage to the patient's mouth.


In an online blog, Mr Culp said that the case occured over 3 years ago and expected it to be dropped or settled out of court. However it is now going to a full jury trial. In the blog, he said that technicians need to be informed that "laboratories can be sued for the work they perform, and can be taken to trial. I acted, as most laboratories do, by just trying to fill the prescription as I understood it. In doing this, they will try to prove negligence on my part.

"From what my lawyers have told me, the case will be built around the reasoning that I am a well-informed expert on Dental Technology and Prosthetics, and should not have performed the work that the doctor asked me to do. Obviously the best case scenario would be that I am found not guilty of malpractice. If, I am found guilty, then this verdict could forever change the way Dentists and Laboratories work together." Mr Culp said that he does not have insurance for malpractice as this was never offered to dental technicians by his insurance company.

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