Dancing Dentist Injures Patient, Faces Personal Injury Suit

By: Gerri L. Elder

A personal injury lawsuit filed in New York alleges that while operating a dental drill on a woman's tooth, a dentist was dancing to disco music on the radio and caused the drill bit to snap off into her skull and become lodged near her eye.

The dental patient, Brandy Fanning, 31, ended up in the hospital for three days and required emergency surgery after the incident in October, 2004.

Fanning and her injury lawyer filed a federal lawsuit against Dr. George Trusty. The personal injury lawsuit seeks $600,000 in damages for Fanning's medical treatment and pain and suffering.

Fanning went to the Syracuse Community Health Center and saw the dentist at the center's emergency dental clinic because she had pain in a left molar that continued to worsen. Dr. Trusty ruled out a root canal as a possible treatment option and decided to extract the tooth. He allegedly administered Novocain for pain relief and began to drill the tooth to break it up before the extraction.

According to Fanning, the song "Car Wash" came on the radio and Dr. Trusty began to "perform rhythmical steps and movements" to the song while he was drilling on her tooth. It was at that point that Fanning says she heard a loud snap.

Dr. Trusty allegedly tried to use a metal hook to fish the broken tip of the drill bit out, but that action only resulted in the drill bit being pushed further up. Fanning's personal injury lawsuit alleges that the broken part of the drill bit was pushed through her sinus bone and ended up close to her eye socket.

The lawsuit says that at first Dr. Trusty downplayed the severity of the problem and then spoke to an oral surgeon to set up an appointment for Fanning. After speaking with the oral surgeon, the doctor then allegedly advised Fanning that she needed to go to the emergency room right away.

Fanning says that Dr. Trusty had told her that if she sneezed the broken drill bit would likely be dislodged and come out on its own. She says that later doctors told her that if she had sneezed with the broken drill bit that close to her eye socket, she could have lost vision in her left eye.

Dr. Trusty had promised to pay her medical bills, Fanning says, but he failed to do so and that is why she filed the personal injury lawsuit against him. She reportedly still suffers from facial swelling, nerve damage and chronic infections as a result of the botched dental procedure in 2004.

Since the Syracuse Community Health Center operates under federal law, the dancing doctor lawsuit is pending in federal court in New York.

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