Tool lodged into patient's sinuses while doc boogied to 'Car Wash', suit says
updated 12:42 p.m. MT, Fri., Nov. 2, 2007
Brandy Fanning, 31, said she had to undergo emergency surgery and spent three days in the hospital because of the October 2004 mishap.
The federal lawsuit filed last month against Dr. George Trusty seeks $600,000 for her medical expenses, pain and suffering.
Trusty, 57, a dentist at Syracuse Community Health Center, declined to comment, as did Dr. Ruben Cowart, the center's president and CEO.
Fanning said she went to the center's emergency dental clinic after pain in a left molar started getting worse. With a root canal ruled out as an option, Trusty gave her some Novocain and began drilling to break up the tooth before extracting it, she said.
As Trusty drilled, he was "performing rhythmical steps and movements to the song `Car Wash,'" which was on the radio, according to the lawsuit. Then, Fanning heard a snap.
Trusty tried to use a metal hook to pull the bit out, but that only pushed it farther up, driving it through the sinus and bone near her eye socket, the lawsuit alleged.
After first minimizing the problem, Trusty talked to an oral surgeon to set up an appointment — and then told Fanning she needed to get to an emergency room immediately, according to the lawsuit.
She claimed he had initially told she would likely sneeze the drill bit out, but doctors said later that if she really had sneezed, the drill bit could have blinded her left eye.
Fanning said she sued because Trusty failed on a promise to pay her medical bills. She said she still suffers facial swelling, nerve damage and chronic infections.
The suit is in federal court because the health center operates under federal law.