My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: California
I had an amalgam filling done and the dentist said that she had a very hard time getting access to it (tooth #18), and that there was decay below the gum line and that it was cracked very deeply. An hour after I left the dentist office, a piece of the filling on that tooth broke off. I called them up, and they told me to come in the next day. When I came in the next day, the dentist was not there, and a just hygenist looked at it - not the dentist herself.
The hygenist admitted that the broken filling was their fault because it was not packed correctly, and then she ground part of the tooth away with a drill. They gave me another appointment for 3 weeks later, but after a week I was in a lot of pain, so I went back.
The dentist reversed the charges, referred me to a specialist, whom I can't see for 3 more weeks. Now I have an abcess (a periodontal infection), and I'm in a lot of pain. (I know it is an abcess because of the constant foul smell and taste in my mouth)
I have county health insurance and the dental work was authorized and done by a county-contracted dental provider.
PLUS - The pulp of that tooth is exposed from the broken filling, and it REALLY hurts!
The original dentist said the filling needed to be redone, and/or a crown and root canal is needed, so they referred me to a specialist. I asked the specialist's secretary (the one scheduling appointments) if they can see me sooner and no such luck. She told me "You could always go to the nearest emergency room in the mean time, if it bothers you that much."
I am worried. I have read about people dying from tooth abcesses and this whole experience is scaring the crap out of me. Not to mention, I am unemployed and I have missed several job interviews and have not been able to look for work these last 3 weeks due to the amount of pain I am in, and having to go back and forth to umpteen dental office visits.
I am also quite upset at the lack of professionalism of the first dentist, who had one of her hygenists, instead of herself, look at my tooth after the filling broke, who took a drill to it (no anesthetic) and then tried to put me off for 3 more weeks. That is all she did. No temporay fillings, no nothing!
I am also mad at the insensitive secretary at the specialist's office who told me that I need to have an exam first (It's just their "procedure" she explained), and she couldn't 'schedule me in' for another 3 weeks - despite me telling her how much pain I am in now, and that I had an exposed tooth in my mouth. She then proceeded to tell me that no work will be done for another 3 weeks after that (now were talking 6 weeks total) because they have to wait for authorization from my insurance.
Haven't they ever heard of an "emergency visit"...? Geeez! ... I CAN'T WAIT 6 WEEKS! (BTW, I have already had a toothache on that tooth for 3 months prior to any work being done because I had to wait for them to schedule me in, and for my insurance to approve everything!)
I just would like to know if I have any rights to sue for negligence and/or malpractice at this point.
If so, would it be worth it, or cost me more money than I would receive?
Should I contact an attorney immediately?
Thanks for your answers.