Experiential Essay draft letter



notes made October 24th.
Yesterday I had an osseous surgery done by periodontist Kathy Stetler—without my consent or knowledge. I had been emailed a preoperative consent form on Oct. 20th, and I signed and took it to the office for the procedure on Oct. 23rd. I was supposed to have a “periodontal revaluation” and a “possible extraction” due to a fractured root. This last upper right molar and the one next to it— Teeth 2 and 3)? had extensive work over the past year—Root canals in each tooth; preceded by a large filling in one of them; followed by crowns on both teeth. One (or both) never felt completely healed—since last January, 2015. Upon visiting my periodontist Dr Kathy Stetler in Melbourne, FL, for my 6 month cleaning, I complained of soreness when flossing between the teeth. She suspected a fractured root and thus I had the appointment for revaluation and possible extraction on Oct. 23.

I was numbed and signed a consent form—a second one—since I had already turned in the first one at the front desk. I have a copy of that one with the proposed treatment and estimated costs.
When the assistant brought ne a second form, I was already in the dentist chair minus glasses and reclining. I told her TWICE that I had already signed consent, but I was asked to sign again. I did so—not being able to read it, and assuming it was a HIPAA release form.

the procedure began with no more discussion between me and the dentist. I closed my eyes and kept them closed almost all the time during the procedure.
It did not feel like a tooth was being pulled—at one point the assistant said I would be feeling some pressure—but nothing felt like an extraction—though I hadn’t had one in several years. I was offered NO explanation during the entire process—no conversation at all took place—except the usual instruments/water/suction comments to the assistant.

Several different instruments were used—one was a loud drill—and I was puzzled why I would be getting any drilling done for an extraction. Finally it was done. I said: “what in the world were you two doing?” Referring to Dr. Stetler and her assistant. Dr. Stetler said something about people agreeing to procedures only if they’re in pain. I don’t remember her exact words, but that’s definitely what I understood, Then I said: ‘You’ve been wanting to do this for years!” I then understood that she had done the gum surgery—though I had no name for it. She said very little—mumbled something—which is the way she always talks—I rarely understand what she’s saying. I asked her if what she did would cure my painful tooth—She said : “You can always have an extraction” I had no idea what she meant—I thought I WAS having an extraction. I asked her if she had discovered a fractured root, and she said not that she could tell, then repeated AGAIN: “You can always have an extraction.” I tried to ask her if the gum surgery would get rid of the deep pockets (I’ve measured 7 on that tooth perhaps for the past 30 years). I think she said yes—and then she disappeared, not to be seen gain.
I was given post-op paperwork and made an appointment to have the stitches removed—and, of course, had to pay in full before leaving—This cost $1,300.00 not the $250—$1000 estimated on the emailed form.

I am in pain, and very hopeful that I won’t get an infection—I do not want to return to this woman for stitch removal—and I am trying to find somewhere else to go.

I read a post online from one dentist who described getting a procedure without discussion or informed consent as “battery” and “malpractice.” I think I’m still in shock the this happened to me.