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Horrid experience at dentist

(14 Posts)
catseverywhere Thu 27-Nov-14 14:16:47

I'm in a bit of a state following a dental appointment this morning. I am a very nervous patient at the best of times, and usually see a particular dentist who over the years has taken time to explain what she thinks needs to happen, makes sure I understand it, and lets me know that we will stop at any time. She has always respected my requests to stop if it all gets a bit much, and by and large things have got easier as I know I am in control.

Today I saw a different dentist because my usual one is on maternity leave, but at the same practice. She was very abrupt from the start, and told me (not asked, told me) that I was having an injection. As she started to do it, I panicked and (am ashamed of this) started saying 'no, no, no'. I must have said no about a dozen times but she just carried on until she'd finished - it's takes several seconds for a dental injection to be done.

When she'd finished I was shaking very badly, and asked why she'd carried on when I was clearly saying no - she said I had 'implied consent' by opening my mouth. My partner was with me, and said I was also jolting my head about while I was saying no (I wasn't aware I was doing this), and she was getting worried about the injection slipping. I was unable to continue with the appointment.

Afterwards, I was shaking so much when I went to reception to pay that the receptionist took me to the practice manager's office, where I told her what had happened. She is going to look into it, but she said she is very surprised to hear that the dentist would have behaved like that, and I'm very aware it is my word against hers if the dentist chooses to deny it.

Is this something I should just chalk up to experience? I've just looked at the General Dental Council's website, and it states 'once a patient has given consent, they may withdraw it at any time, including during the procedure', so it appears that her statement that I had implied consent by opening my mouth is at odds with her practice guidance.

That's assault, you had clearly not given consent. How awful for you! It's good that your partner was there as a witness to what happened.

catseverywhere Thu 27-Nov-14 14:38:31

Yes, I was glad she was there - when the manager spoke to me she asked my partner if my version of events was accurate, so it was good that she was there.

Thanks for the reply, I'm feeling a bit shit wondering if I overreacted, but I can't shake the feeling of lying stuck in a chair while someone insisted on doing something to me when I was clearly saying no. It's not like you can just get up and leave when there's a dentist one side of you, a nurse the other side, and a tray of instruments across the front of you.

No you didn't overreact, there are very clear lines as to obtaining patient's consent. This is something I'd be writing to the GDC about first of all.

PacificDogwood Thu 27-Nov-14 15:15:37

I hope you feel better now.

Even if you gave what's known as 'implied consent' (by opening your mouth having climbed up on the chair), you have every right to withdraw said consent at any time. Which it sounds like you did and were ignored.

If you feel able to, take it further.

catseverywhere Thu 27-Nov-14 16:18:45

Ohhh, thank you - it's helpful to hear people reinforcing what I'm feeling.

I'm going to wait to hear from the practice manager - the dentist said something about how she's been practising for 30 years and she knows what she's doing - I just want her to be pointed in the direction of the current guidelines on the website of her own professional body which talks about the 'right of patients to decide what happens to their own bodies', and the technicalities of the whole consent thing.

I wasn't saying 'ouch' or 'argh', or in any other way simply expressing pain or discomfort, I was saying 'no' very clearly and she chose to ignore me.

Matildathecat Thu 27-Nov-14 17:44:27

Cats, this is a bit different but similar IYSWIM? I was a midwife for a very long time. Often women were very, very scared about procedures, usually bloods or internals. I would discuss, reassure and get verbal consent. Then I'd get going but the second someone said no Id stop instantly. Usually we'd get there in the end wink.

In the old mumsnet phrase, 'No is a complete sentence'. This is actually a very serious offence professionally and potentially in the eyes of the law. Unfortunately the practice manager is almost certain to minimise the seriousness of your complaint.

PicandMinx Thu 27-Nov-14 18:31:45

"Usually we'd get there in the end" with the awful "wink" made me feel very uncomfortable Matilda. That statement comes across as you coercing your patients into having a procedure "done" to them regardless of their wishes.

OP, good luck with your complaint.

goingmadinthecountry Thu 27-Nov-14 20:44:40

If anyone can help with my major phobia due to being raped by a dentist (at a party - flat shared with one ) PLEASE pm me. Every day I see horrid stories on news or here. I'm trying to come to terms with it because dd really needs treatment and after a bad experience in Chatham at a sedation clinic she refuses to go back. It's taking over my life. Because of this I sometimes feel my kids would be better off without me. I REALLY need someone professional and nice to hold my hand. Have a couple of lovely dentist acquaintences but couldn't ever own up about this to them. Don't care about me but I hate what I've done to my 4 beautiful lovely children because of it.

Sorry for hijack xx That was unacceptable behaviour from a dentist. No wonder I distrust them.

Mrsmorton Fri 28-Nov-14 14:11:10

I have pmed you goingmad I remember you talking about this before.

Please remember that the news is absolutely sensationalist and at least 50% of what they report is complete rubbish.

Please let me know if you'd like to get in touch with this amazing dentist who has an all female practice.

Mrsmorton Fri 28-Nov-14 14:14:09

picandmix being a health care professional is a very tough balance, what pp (midwife) seemed to be saying was that her patients wanted the intervention she was offering but didn't trust themselves to go through with it and she managed to improve their confidence in her to the point that she could carry out the test etc. she wasn't doing it for fun and these tests were important.

I haven't got much to say about the OP, the first port of call for complaints is always the practice, not the GDC. I wonder how she got on.

Monathevampire1 Fri 28-Nov-14 14:24:48

OP I'm curious but why didn't your partner stop the dentist if she was aware you wanted the treatment to stop?

Matildathecat Fri 28-Nov-14 16:50:10

picandmix I am extremely offended by your remarks. You know nothing whatsoever about me or my (exemplary) practice. As Mrsmorton so kindly says I was (mostly)able to gain the confidence of nervous women and undertake their care safely. If anyone was too nervous to proceed then we discontinued.

I hope the OP is ok and interpreted my message in the way it was intended.

ishouldcocoa Fri 28-Nov-14 17:01:48

Something similar happened to DS when he was about 8 or 9. Took him to see my dentist who I'd been seeing since I was about 11 y old. Had total trust in her. Used to take DS to just sit on the floor while I was having a check up.
So far so good...

His forth or fifth visit, he sits in the chair, and she's v brusque with him. Takes X Rays, and says he needs an injection. Picks up syringe and puts it in DSs mouth. No explanation. DS so panicky that his arms and legs were fluttering about but he dared not move his head.

Once that was done, he turned as white as a sheet, sat up and puked all over her, the chair, the floor. Everywhere. (Good boy!)

I took him out, wiped him down, and left the practice. They rang the next day to apologise and to minimise, too. Also said that he needed a filling. Told them wild horses wouldn't get him back through their front door.

I could barely mention the "D" word for about a year, when DS was then wracked with such toothache that we had to find another practice quickly. They are brilliant, and we've continued to go there. I can't see DS ever wanting to go anywhere else.

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