Wash. dentist to pay $35M for unnecessary root canals

A retired Washington state dentist must pay $35 million to 29 former patients after a court determined that he had performed thousands of unnecessary root canals over the course of three decades.

On July 17, former King County Superior Court Judge Paris Kallas ruled that Henri Duyzend was negligent, failed to obtain informed consent from patients, committed fraud, and violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act, according to a story in the Seattle Times.

Duyzend performed nearly 2,200 root canals on about 500 patients in the five years before he retired in 2007, according to the sworn affidavit of David To, DDS, who purchased Duyzend's practice, the Times reported.

Last year, Duyzend denied all wrongdoing, claiming the injuries to his former patients were caused by a third party, according to court documents.

However, Dr. To told the court that after he bought Duyzend's practice he noticed a high number of patients coming in with failing root canals and failing crowns. He said he found that, over five years the average patient had had four root canals performed by Duyzend.

The ruling came during an arbitration proceeding.

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