CLAREMONT (CBSLA.com) — Less than two months after children came down with serious infections after dental procedures at Children’s Dental Group’s Anaheim clinic, a new lawsuit accuses the dental clinic of fraud and medical malpractice.
In the past two months, 57 children have been treated for serious infections and abscesses in their mouths and necks. The children developed infections after undergoing procedures, primarily “baby root canals,” this year at Children’s Dental Group’s Anaheim location. Parents were outraged as the list of potential victims grew into the hundreds.
Soon after those infections were made public in September, the Orange County Health Care Agency tested the clinic’s water and found it tested positive for mycobacteria. Health officials ordered the clinic to stop using the water in dental procedures.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors agreed last month to give $150,000 to Children’s Hospital of Orange County to treat patients with infections believed to be linked to the dental clinic.
Now, a lawsuit accuses the dental clinic of fraud and medical malpractice.
In a civil suit filed Nov. 4, the family of a child with autism alleges Children’s Dental Group pressured patients into undergoing unnecessary dental work.
“This is a high-volume, high-profit clinic that cares about one thing … money,” attorney Catherine Lombardo said at the Claremont law office representing the plaintiffs.
Lombardo said clinic operators habitually gave young patients multiple and unnecessary root canals and crowns, performing invasive procedures without parents knowledge or consent.
In the case of Leo, a 6-year-old boy with autism, the clinic is accused of administering two baby root canals without the use of any local anesthesia. Instead, the boy was strapped into a “straightjacket-like” device, the lawsuit says.
“Every time we uncover a new fact, we’re shocked,” Lombardo said.
Children’s Dental Group responded Monday to the lawsuit.
“We provide this service and do this work because we care for children, and we deeply regret that any patient had complications following treatment here. We have not been served with any complaint,” the statement said.
Attorneys will soon file another case involving 4-year-old Nairi Aamador, who needed surgery and is still on a strong regimen of IV drugs after getting a baby root canal and teeth pulled at the clinic.
Officials are asking any clients of Medi-Cal who believe the dentists did excessive or unnecessary treatments to file a complaint with the Dental Board and with the Medi-Cal Fraud Unit.