Patient voluntarily dismisses suit alleging colon infection from overprescribed antibiotics

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Dec 11, 2018

A patient has voluntarily dismissed several dentists and their practices in a suit alleging she suffered a colon infection after being prescribed various antibiotics in an effort to treat infections.

Plaintiffs Nancy and Phillip Kramer filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the complaint against Bethel Buerk, DDS and Bethel Buerk D.M.D LLC on Oct. 9.

Then on Nov. 20, the plaintiffs filed a stipulation for dismissal for defendants Michael Fulton, DDS, Bradley Drum DDS and Fulton & Drum Dental PC.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth granted dismissal with prejudice on Dec. 6, closing the case.

Nancy and Phillip Kramer filed the complaint on March 18, 2015.

According to the complaint, Nancy Kramer alleges she saw Dunn on March 20, 2013, complaining of pain and discomfort at and around her lower right teeth. Dunn allegedly obtained lower periapical films, but they were inadequate to reveal a lesion underneath or adjacent to the lower right premolar teeth.

Then on June 26, 2013, Kramer saw Buerk with continued complaints of pain and discomfort. Buerk performed a sedative filling procedure on the plaintiff’s first lower right molar.

On July 21, 2013, Kramer contacted the after-hours emergency phone number for Fulton & Dunn PC and was directed to Dunn. She claims she was experiencing severe pain, swelling and redness. Dunn ordered a prescription for the antibiotic Amoxicillin and the pain medicine Vicodin.

The next day, Kramer again contacted the defendants’ dental offices to advise them that her face was more swollen and her pain was unbearable. She could not reach anyone and left a message on the answering machine, the suit states. Kramer alleges that while she was on her way to the office, she was advised that the dentists were booked for the day and she would have to wait to be seen.

However, she claims she was immediately taken to an exam room after arriving at the office due to the condition of her face and jaw.

Buerk “erroneously assumed” the plaintiff’s pain was caused by the filling, so he extracted Kramer’s first lower right molar. The plaintiff claims Buerk injured the inferior alveolar nerve during the procedure, causing abnormal sensation and function of Kramer’s mouth, lip and jaw.

Kramer was seen against by Buerk on July 24, 2013, with complaints consistent with an infection, continuing pain near her lower right premolar teeth and numbness of the lip and mouth. She was again prescribed Amoxicillin.

On Aug. 1, 2013, Dunn allegedly called in another prescription for Amoxicillin without seeing the plaintiff.

Kramer saw Buerk again on Aug. 21, 2013, with the same complaints consistent with infection, numbness and pain. She was prescribed the antibiotic Clindamycin, the suit states.

She was then allegedly prescribed the antibiotic Clindamycin on Aug. 28, 2013.

On Both Sept. 4 and Sept. 26, 2013, Kramer saw Buerk with the same complaints.

Kramer saw Fulton on Oct. 24 with the same complaints, who performed a root canal procedure on one of the plaintiff’s premolar teeth. He left the socket open and gave Kramer three dental tools for her to use at home. She was prescribed more Clindamycin, the suit states.

Kramer alleges that Oct. 30, Oct. 31, and Nov. 2, 2013, she saw Fulton with more complaints consistent with infection, continuing pain and swelling.

Kramer also went to the emergency room at St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital on Nov. 2, 2013, where she underwent a maxilla-facial CT scan. The scan found a dental abscess adjacent to the root of the lower right premolar teeth.

Fulton allegedly prescribed Amoxicillin. Kramer called Fulton on Nov. 21 with complaints of pain and swelling. Fulton was in California at the time and instructed the plaintiffs to use the dental instruments he gave her to remove the filling material he had placed in her tooth following the root canal.

After Kramer complained of continuing pain, Fulton allegedly removed the premolar tooth on Dec. 3, 2013, after draining infected exudate.

Kramer contacted the defendants’ dental office on Dec. 5, 2013, advising them that she was experiencing stomach pains and numbness. She was diagnosed with a clostridium difficile infection, also known as a C-diff infection of the colon, the suit states.

On April 4, 2014, Kramer had a lesion underneath the location of her previously extracted premolar removed, and learned that her colon infection was caused by the defendants’ overuse of numerous types of antibiotics, the suit states.

The plaintiffs allege the defendants carelessly and indiscriminately overprescribed multiple antibiotics, which they should have known would “likely upset the balance of microorganisms in plaintiff’s gastrointestinal tract.”

The plaintiffs were represented by Gregory Fenlon of St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-360

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