For those of a certain age, Perry Mason was a riveting TV attorney character
who brilliantly represented clients at trial, often prevailing as the
result of a last-second revelation or confession by a key witness.
An attorney who represented a client in a
dental malpractice case said he recently went through a Perry Mason moment when a witness
brought in at the very end of the proceedings brought the dentist defendant
to the negotiating table.
The attorney’s client claimed that she was caused lifelong pain by
the Georgia dentist who botched a wisdom tooth extraction, severing her
lingual nerve. The woman was forced to endure “lifelong simultaneous
numbness, tingling and excruciating pain in her lower left mouth and face,”
her lawyer said.
She underwent three oral surgeries to try to fix the problem, but all to no avail.
The dentist, in turn, claimed that he was not the cause of the injury.
He further claimed that he had used a proper surgical technique taught
to him at the Medical College of Georgia by the head of the oral surgery
department. He made the claim in a deposition, in which he speculated
that the instructor might not be alive any more, and also apparently repeated
it at trial.
As it turned out, the instructor was found, alive and well, by the plaintiff’s
attorney and brought in to testify at the last moment. His testimony turned
the trial upside down. He said he never taught the surgical procedure
to anyone at the school and that because he was head of the department,
no one else taught the method either. It wasn’t taught for good
reason: the procedure was viewed as an inappropriate invasion of the lingual
While those kinds of Perry Mason moments are rarities, the attention to
detail, perseverance and knowledge of law that led to the moment are all
key factors in effective representation in medical malpractice and dental
Source: Daily Report,
“Dramatic Dental Malpractice Trial Ends With $875K Settlement,” Alyson Palmer, Dec. 1, 2014