NORTH VERNON, Ind (April 12, 2016) - A North Vernon man and his wife are seeking a lawsuit against a Columbus dentist, claiming the dentist unexpectedly pulled all of the man’s teeth and overdosed him during the procedure.
“That’s like going in and having something a simple carpel tunnel surgery, and you wake up with no arm,” said Donny Grigsby. “You know, you wasn’t prepared for that.”
Donny and his wife Amanda say they paid a walk-in visit on March 15 to White River Dental in Columbus to address a toothache Donny had. After discussing the procedure with the dental staff, they say they expected Donny to have four teeth extracted while under sedation. But after waiting several hours in a lobby, Amanda grew anxious.
“Three and a half hours in, I said what is taking so long,” Amanda Grigsby said. “And they told me outright that they had elected to pull all of his teeth.”
Amanda said a nurse told her there was concern about an infection spreading in Donny’s mouth. She then asked the dentist, Doctor Aaron Strickland, why all Donny’s teeth were being pulled.
“He said, well he signed for multiple extractions.,” Amanda said. “And I said, that was four. You and he discussed four extractions.”
After another two hours, Amanda says she pushed her way back into the procedure room where Donny was, and found that Donny had been overdosed during sedation.
“And my husband is sitting up, kind of sideways on the chair, and they’re shooting icing into his mouth,” Amanda said. "I’m assuming for a glucose type effect. There’s blood everywhere, like his shirt is entirely covered, his mouth is pouring blood. And he has no teeth. He’s grumbling inaudibly.”
An ambulance was called to transport Donny to Columbus Regional Hospital. The Grigsbys say Donny coded twice over the course of his transport and trauma care for the overdose.
“It was like bits and pieces, weird, it was like I wasn’t even alive,” Donny said. “It was like I was dreaming it.”
Donny says he awoke in a hospital bed at Columbus Regional Hospital.
“I woke up in the hospital, and I asked for something to drink and I realized I had no teeth,” Donny said.
Nearly a month after the incident, Donny says he’s still on oxygen due to blood clotting. He says he’s unable to go to work and has residual pain in his jaw. He also says he feels uncomfortable around friends without any teeth in his mouth.
“When I first see them again, they look at me and they even question that it’s even me,” Donny said. “That makes somebody feel like crap.”
The Indiana State Board of Dentistry’s online database shows no record of any infractions or formal complaints against Doctor Aaron Strickland. White River Dental also has an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau with no complaints filed in the last three years.
A statement released by a spokesperson on behalf of Dr. Strickland said:
"I assure you that every patient and/or legal guardian has the treatment explained to them thoroughly, and all the proper consent forms are signed prior to any treatment being performed on any patient at White River Dental. I, as well as all of our well trained staff, strive in every situation to make sure the patient and/or legal guardian understands all issues that may arise prior to accepting the treatment plan, as well as making sure they understand our due diligence in securing positive final results."
The Grigsbys say the first attorney they spoke with about the incident declined to take their case. They say they are now in talks with another law firm, hoping to file a malpractice suit.
“Our primary goal is to make sure that this dentist is stopped before he actually succeeds in killing someone,” Amanda Grigsby said.
Doctor Strickland and employees of White River Dental are prohibited from speaking publicly about specific treatment of patients. But, the dental office is seeking a court order to allow them to release those treatment records in an effort to publicly address the allegations being brought by the Grigsbys.