Type of action: Medical malpractice
Injuries alleged: Transected and severed right lingual nerve causing inability to feel or taste on right side of tongue and constant nerve pain
Name of judge or mediator: Karl J. Protil, Judge Johanna Fitzpatrick (Ret.)
Date resolved: 12/2021
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Michele Bartoli Cain, Wallace B. Wason Jr. and Sebastian Norton, Alexandria; Anthony Russell, Richmond
Description of case: In December 2021, a litigation team achieved a settlement of a dental malpractice lingual nerve injury in the amount of $850,000. This is believed to be the largest reported amount received by an injured patient for a lingual nerve injury in Virginia.
The injury occurred during a wisdom tooth extraction procedure performed upon the 28-year-old patient. The patient’s right lingual nerve was transected and severed. The lingual nerve is a sensory nerve which provides feeling in the tongue and with the chorda tympani also provides taste. As a result of this dental injury, the patient suffered an inability to feel or taste on the right side of his tongue and he developed constant nerve pain in his tongue. He underwent a nerve repair surgery to reattach the two pieces of the cut nerve, with the goals of some degree of sensory return and a diminishment of his pain. Unfortunately, the repair surgery did not accomplish those goals. The patient had no improvement of sensation or taste and no lessening of his pain. He was then treated by orofacial pain specialists for the nerve pain. He has been prescribed multiple different medications alone and in combination, which have provided only minor pain relief and generated significant side effects. His orofacial pain specialists have predicted that a combination of prescription pain medicines will be necessary for the rest of his life.
At the time of settlement, the patient was 33-years-old, with a life expectancy of 42 years. The case settled just weeks before the scheduled December 2021 trial, following multiple mediation efforts by attorney Karl J. Protil Jr. and the Judge Johanna Fitzpatrick (Ret.).
Lead plaintiff’s counsel Michele Bartoli Cain provided case information.