Woman sues Lexington dentist after screwdriver had to be surgically removed

jkegley@herald-leader.comApril 27, 2012 

A Jessamine County woman is suing a Lexington dentist because he allegedly dropped a small screwdriver down her throat during a routine treatment.

The screwdriver ended up in Lena David's digestive tract, from which Saint Joseph Hospital surgeons removed it, according to the lawsuit.

David, 71, is seeking an undetermined amount of compensatory damages from Dr. W.B. Galbreath. The case was filed in Fayette Circuit Court on Thursday.

Included in the file was an X-ray, purported to be David's, that shows the silhouette of the screwdriver in her pelvic region.

Admitted to the hospital June 23, David "had begun experiencing pain in her right lower quadrant, and surgery was performed on that date," the lawsuit said.

She was discharged June 29 "and has experienced a long and difficult recovery," the document said.

Galbreath did not return a message left at his Nicholasville Road practice on Friday.

David's attorney, Edwin H. Clark, said he did not wish to comment on the case.

According to the lawsuit, Galbreath was cleaning dental implants, which held David's dentures in place, when he allegedly lost control of the dental instrument described in the lawsuit as "an implant screwdriver."

He dropped the screwdriver in David's mouth, and David reflexively swallowed it, the document said.

"Galbreath did not secure the screwdriver with dental floss or anything else during his treatment of Ms. David," the lawsuit said.

The doctor told David to try to make herself expel the screwdriver, which she could feel in her throat, the lawsuit said. David could not make herself vomit.

The lawsuit said Galbreath instructed David to have X-rays taken at a chiropractor's office, rather than at an emergency room. David had the X-rays taken at a nearby chiropractic center and brought them back for Galbreath to read, it said. Galbreath spotted the screwdriver "on the stomach" and instructed David to eat a diet high in fiber and to look for the screwdriver after bowel movements.

The screwdriver did not pass through her body naturally. David was admitted to Saint Joseph Hospital about a month after the dentist's visit, the lawsuit said.

Surgeons "manipulated the screwdriver into Ms. David's appendix" and performed an appendectomy to remove it, the lawsuit said.

The ordeal caused David pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of her ability to earn money.

Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197.Twitter: @HLPublicSafety.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service