Patient sues Penn Dental Medicine School and orthodontist

By Jon Campisi | May 23, 2011

A Philadelphia woman is suing an orthodontist and the business at which he practiced medicine for injuries she sustained while undergoing a dental procedure.

Helen Hicks filed the personal injury claim on behalf of herself May 19 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against Dr. Satoshi Go and the Penn School of Dental Medicine, located at 240 S. 40th St. in Philadelphia.

In the complaint, Hicks alleges that she suffered a “serious personal injury” while undergoing a dental procedure from May through August 2009.

On May 14, Hicks signed a contract to start orthodontic work by Dr. Go, the suit states. During the ensuing months, dental impressions were taken, dentures were received, and, eventually, the procedure was completed.

At one point during the ongoing treatment, Go used “excessive force” to loosen a dental impression tray that was sealed to the roof of the plaintiff’s mouth, the suit states. This force damaged her jaw joint, Hicks alleges in the complaint, something that led her to eventually develop TMD, or temporomandibular disorder, also referred to as TMJ.

Hicks continues to suffer from muscle generated pain from trauma to her jaw, she alleges in her lawsuit. Hicks claims she has had to resort to a self-management program to decrease pain and pressure on her joints, and has had to eliminate certain foods from her diet. She also claims she can’t chew gum, and she can’t sleep on the injured side of her jaw.

Hicks also suffers from headaches, earaches, jaw pain, neck pain, facial pain and hears a “clicking noise” in her ear when chewing, the suit states.

Hicks, who says she has been a patient at the dental school for 38 years, also named as a defendant in the suit Giovanny F. Zalamar, a dental student at the school who, Hicks alleges in the suit, was the person responsible for not removing the dental impression tray quickly enough, which led to the tray’s over-hardening.

Hicks demands judgment against the defendants jointly and/or severally in an amount not in excess of $1 million plus interest and related costs, the suit states.

The plaintiff has demanded a jury trial.

The case number is 110502227.

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