Dentist must pay $2.5M after drilling into patient's tongue

A $2.5 million verdict against a dentist who drilled into a woman's tongue was upheld by a Missouri appeals court, according to Legal Newsline.

The appeals court rejected the objections from Thomas O'Keeffe, DDS, and said he must pay $2.5 million in noneconomic damages to patient Christina Bojorquez, who didn't feel the drill because her mouth was numb. The drill created a laceration 1.5 centimeters long and 1 centimeter deep.

Ms. Bojorquez was described as very social before the incident, but has become introverted and depressed because of slurring and stuttering caused by the injury.

"There was substantial evidence presented at trial demonstrating Plaintiff's injuries and resulting voice disorder have caused her pain and suffering, impacted her lifestyle and caused her embarrassment and humiliation and Plaintiff will continue to suffer such noneconomic damages in the future," Judge Robert Clayton wrote.

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