Taipei judges yesterday ruled against a dentist and ordered him to pay compensation of NT$12 million (US$350,000) to the family of a female patient who fell into a coma during treatment.
"The dentist failed to provide necessary and sufficient evidence to prove that he did not make a mistake during the medical treatment. The court has therefore decided that he must take responsibility," the verdict from the Taipei District Court read.
The verdict said that the 34-year-old female patient, surnamed Chan (詹), was married and had just given birth two months before she visited Chen Yung-chi's (陳勇吉) clinic in Taipei to have one of her teeth pulled on April 1, 2005.
Chen anesthetized Chan prior to the treatment, after which Chan immediately began to feel dizzy and eventually fell unconscious. Chen then rushed her to hospital, where Chan was later diagnosed as having suffered a stroke. Chan never came out of the coma and remains in a permanent vegetative state.
Chan's family filed a civil suit against Chen with the Taipei District Court and initially asked for NT$20 million in compensation.
Judges went through Chan's medical records and found no history of her suffering from strokes. They ruled then that Chen must be held responsible for what happened to Chan during the process of pulling her wisdom tooth.
Chan remains at National Taiwan University Hospital.
Chen has 20 days to appeal to the high court.
As of press time yesterday, he had not yet decided whether to do so.