Harley Street dentist sued over ‘botched operation which left grandmother missing part of jaw’
A grandmother is suing a Harley Street dentist after an alleged botched operation she says left her in agonising pain “worse than childbirth” and missing part of her jaw.
Caroline Bailey, 58, spent six hours in Dr Monica Bijlani’s dentist chair being fitted with an implant that was two sizes too big and drilled into an adjacent tooth, it is said.
Mrs Bailey says she was not given adequate anaesthetic to cope with the pain during the procedure, and claims Dr Bijlani simply told her to “deal with it”. She then developed a debilitating bowel condition in the wake of the operation, after taking copious amounts of painkilling medication.
Mrs Bailey, a mother-of-five and grandmother from Cambridgeshire, has now hired specialist medical negligence lawyers from Devonshires Claims to sue Dr Bijlani in the civil courts.
“Going back to Dr Bijlani was one of the worst mistakes of my life”, she said.
“I have been through childbirth five times, and I can honestly say that I have never been in as much agony as I was when I was in Dr Bijlani’s chair.
“I suffered terrible pain and a severe infection in my gum as a result of her work and I thought I was going to die. She should not be allowed to work as a dentist ever again.”
Dr Bijlani, who has a practice in London’s famous Harley Street medical district, is understood to be fighting the damages claim, as well as seeking to overturn a 2021 suspension by the General Dental Council.
“This has been a horrific ordeal for our client and we find it rather shocking that, despite the injuries inflicted and the findings of the GDC, Dr Bijlani now proposes to retract the admissions she made to the GDC and defend the claim for damages”, said Justin Glenister, a Partner at Devonshires Claims.
Mrs Bailey had been fitted with veneers by Dr Bijlani in 2016 without problem, and returned for a bridge removal and replacement in May 2018.
“Despite being anaesthetised, I was in agonising pain for long periods of the six-hour operation”, said Mrs Bailey, of the replacement operation.
“I told Dr Bijlani I was experiencing excruciating pain and the local anaesthetic wasn’t effective. She told me I would just have to ‘deal with it’ and even pushed my arm down which I had raised to warn her I was in pain, telling me that I had received the maximum dose possible.”
She claims the dentist was “impatient and flustered” during the procedure, and says Dr Bijlani told her “you have a large tongue” when trying to fit an implant that was too large.
Mrs Bailey says she was diagnosed with an infection when she visited another dentist in pain the following day, and was in “indescribable agony” for the next few days. She said a surgeon she went to for help was “horrified” at the state of her mouth, and she was then struck down with severe pain in her abdomen and pelvic region and hospitalised for eleven days. Doctors concluded she had developed colitis from medication she had been taking to control the pain.
Mrs Bailey says she has been left with part of her jaw missing and holes in the base of her mouth where the implant was removed.
Dr Bijlani was suspended by the General Dental Council after complaints from six of her patients, including Mrs Bailey.
“I have been left feeling disfigured with holes at the bottom of my jaw and I am still reluctant to go out four years on”, Mrs Bailey added.
“I haven’t worked since the incident, and I have to live with a debilitating bowel condition which has had far reaching effects on my life.
“I am speaking out as I don’t want anybody else to go through what I have been through.”
Dr Bijlani is contesting the civil claim against her, and has been fighting against her continued suspension by the GDC.
Paul Grant, from BSG Solicitors, confirmed he is acting for Dr Bijlani and said she “is reviewing the issues and would like to confirm that she has the best interests for the patient.”