Periodontist must pay $1.3M in malpractice case

By Melissa Busch, DrBicuspid.com assistant editor

October 22, 2019 -- A periodontist must pay approximately $1.3 million in a malpractice case in which a procedure to extract a molar in preparation for an implant resulted in bone and nerve damage, according to a judgment filed in a New Jersey court.

Frank Ricker, DMD, of Bedminster, NJ, was ordered to pay $1.1 million to his patient, Kathleen Seergy, and $233,000 to her husband, Michael Seergy, following a six-day jury trial. The judgment in the case was filed in Morris County Superior Court on October 8.

"We are pleased with the jury award. It is a shame that this periodontist had to injure Kate the way he did," Seergy's attorney, Bruce Nagel, said in a statement.

Nevertheless, the case may be far from over since Dr. Ricker's attorneys have motioned for a new trial, citing several reasons, including that some testimony had been barred from the trial. A judge will hear oral arguments on the matter on November 8.

The couple sued Dr. Ricker in 2016 following a tooth extraction procedure that went awry.

Seergy, who was 61 at the time, visited Dr. Ricker to have a tooth removed in preparation of an implant, which typically takes about one hour. In this case, the clinician worked for four hours, and when he stopped working, root fragments remained in the extraction area, according to court filings. The periodontist had drilled through the bone underneath the molar, injuring the nerve and causing destruction of the bone in the lower jaw, the suit claimed.

Immediately after the procedure, Seergy experienced pain and numbness, Nagel said. Despite undergoing nerve regenerative surgery, Seergy continues to have permanent sensory injuries, including pain, numbness, tingling, loss of hot and cold sensations, and waves of electric shock from her center chin to her right cheek, her attorney said.

Also, Nagel added that the procedure led his client to break her jaw bone. Due to the bone injury, it cannot be repaired sufficiently to hold an implant.


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