Case Study

Observing the dentist’s actions with all necessary details it is possible to say that his behavior satisfied the four D’s of negligence.

First of all it is important to define the 4 D’s of negligence which include Duty, Dereliction, Direct Cause and Damages and, according to Breen, Plueckhahn, & Cordner (1997), literally means “Dereliction of a Duty Directly causing Damages”. These 4 D’s are usually used when a certain case is presented in a court against a physician/dentist for negligence. In such case the patient must provide the right proof against the physician (the dentist in our case) for all 4 components.

Defining the 4 D’s of negligence, we should briefly dwell on each of them. The first concept of Duty exists when the patient-physician relationship has been firstly established; this means that a physician is responsible to provide the needed medical service. The second concept of Dereliction is a failure to perform a medical duty to the patient in the right way. The third component is Direct Cause and in this case the patient should prove that exactly the physician’s actions directly caused the harm to the patient. The last component is Damages and for the purpose of to prove it the patient must demonstrate that a loss of money or harm was resulted from the actions of the physician.

Analyzing the case, we see that the dentist satisfied the first D (Duty) when he agrees to provide qualified and reasonable medical care to his patients. The second D (Dereliction) was satisfied when the dentist was not able to carry out his duty and take care of his patients in proper way. There are the third D (Direct Cause) and the fourth D (Damages) which have occurred to the dentist’s patients in the form of removal of permanent teeth in error, and gum infections from improperly tightened braces. As a result, observing the 4 D’s we have proved the direct association between the dentist’s dereliction in duty and a great damage to his patients.

Thus, the dentist dissatisfied his patients in providing reasonable care and satisfied the four D’s of negligence in a full degree.

Breen, K., Plueckhahn, V. & Cordner, S. (1997). Allen & Unwin. Ethics, Law, and Medical Practice.

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