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Dental malpractice in New York: The value of patient records

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2023 | Personal Injury Defense

Dental malpractice in New York State can include many different factors, including accusations of unnecessary or inferior treatment practices. However, dentists accused of such actions can bolster a defense case with detailed records of the patient in question.

According to MLMIC Insurance Company, New York State law requires dentists to keep patient records for six years. While dentists can expunge these records after the required time, storing patient X-rays and other information may prove useful if a malpractice case arises.

Accurate patient records provide proof of treatments

Dentists accused of malpractice or unprofessional conduct in New York State may find themselves facing charges from a patient they saw years ago. This is usually a problem, especially for dentists who ran large practices, because it is likely difficult to recall individual appointments and details of treatment options. Storing records of past patients can offer proof of treatment plans discussed at that time, along with notes recorded by the dentist and his or her staff.

Details can strengthen a defense case

Dentists who kept current and accurate records of patient appointments and treatment can provide evidence against an accusation of wrongdoing during a malpractice case. Detailed records may build a stronger defense, especially when the need for a specific treatment is in question.

Proof of consent for treatment

If a previous patient claims that a certain treatment was not needed at the time, then a record that proves he or she gave consent to that treatment can prove otherwise. Signatures, dated records and notes that spell out the necessity of the procedure become invaluable during a malpractice case.

Storing records for at least 10 years can provide dentists with a safety net if any accusations should arise.