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Ask D. WINOGO ESQ. Your Own Question
D. WINOGO ESQ., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4714
Experience:  10+years of experience in all matters of civil litigation and Hearing Officer/Arbitrator
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I have a severe case of TMD and malocclusion, and so was in

Customer Question

I have a severe case of TMD and malocclusion, and so was in treatment for 5 months with Dr. Alan Green of Bouder. Dr. Green made me an upper splint (a MAGO), and adjusted it weekly. At first it helped a lot (it was quite thick). As Dr. Green ground down the splint gradually over the next few months, my jaw was forced farther & farther back. This caused more TMJ pain. So, after 5 months, he sent me to DDI in Littleton to have scans taken of my TMJ, teeth, sinuses, airways, throat, etc... The scans showed that my condyles (ends of the jaw that fit into the socket (fossa) were thinned and flattened against the fossa, and that they sit too low (inferior) and far back (posterior). Also, it showed that my throat airway is highly constricted by the retrusion of my jaw. When Dr. Green examined the scans, he offered 2 options: 1) to "start over", since he should have been walking my jaw forward instead of back! It was clear that he had made a huge mistake, or he wouldn't have offered to "start over" and attempt to move the jaw forward. (Subsequently, I visited Dr. James Makowski, and he said that he would NEVER begin treatment without sending me for the scans FIRST. Dr. Rayl said the same.) 2) To refund to me ALL of the cost of the MAGO and adjustments, with one condition: that I must be under MAGO treatment with another dentist before he will issue the refund (in exchange for release of future liability). Also, Dr. Green told me that if we start over, I will have to pay again! The first MAGO and adjustments cost $4643! So, I chose Option 2. I asked for clarification. I remember this clearly. He told me emphatically, "Yes, I will give you ALL of your money back." Unfortunately, I was unable to get this statement in writing, but his secretary was in earshot. It took me almost a year to find a dentist who had the credentials and experience to handle my case. It took several consultations with numerous dentists, which cost me close to $1000. Finally I chose Dr. Rayl, a Level IV OBI certified dentist, who, after splint therapy, could also do the orthodontics, and prepare me for a full mouth rehabilitation. There are very few dentists who can do this, so it was not an easy task to find one, and Dr. Green knew this. I took my first receipt from Dr. Rayl along with Dr. Rayl's Treatment Plan and cost estimate to Dr. Green's office (his old secretary was gone), to show that I met Dr. Green's requirement. I called many times over the next several months, leaving numerous messages, as well as stopping by his office, only to find it closed. Finally I arrived and it was open, so I told the new secretary that I needed to speak with Dr. Green about a reimbursement check. She told me that Dr. Green was going through a divorce, and so his hours were quite irregular, but that she would relay the message. I gave her a copy of my original receipt. Several months later (after many more calls) I received a confusing letter and a check for only $2780, but it was NOT signed. I returned the check and the letter. I told the secretary that the amount was way too low, and that the letter did not make any sense to me. It was NOT what Dr. Green and I had initially agreed upon. She said she would give it to him. About a year went by. I never heard from Dr. Green or his office. My mother was very ill in the hospital during this time, so I did only left Dr. Green a couple messages during that time. Last Thursday I went to Dr. Green's office, close to closing time (4:30pm), which I knew would be the best chance of catching him. He was there, so could not avoid me. I gave him the letter and unsigned check, and reminded him of our agreement. He made me sit for about half an hour, watching him search for "something" on the computer. Actually, he was looking for the letter and check that I had already just handed him. Once he realized this, he made copies. I showed him the receipt for the $4643, pointing out the discrepancy. He explained to me that he had decided to refund to me "the cost of the remaining treatment (MAGO adjustments) plus $1000 to help me pay for another MAGO with my future dentist. This amount totaled $2780. I asked him about our original agreement. He told me about the "Do Over", but says he does NOT remember saying "I will refund ALL of your money". I could tell that he was lying. He was very agitated and intimidating towards me. He abruptly stood up and almost yelled. I believe that his treatment caused more TM joint deterioration. It obviously cost me lots of pain and time and stress. Should I sue? For what and how much? Or should I go to Small Claims Court? Can you help me?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  D. WINOGO ESQ. replied 6 years ago.
So if I understand correctly, the cost of the initial treatment you paid for was $4643 and you would need to essentially re-do such treatment? If so, then your damages would be for the new treatment which would be about $5000. In such a case, your best bet would be to file an action against the doctor in small claims since the limit there is $7500. Then with the renumeration of $5000, you should be able to get the corrective procedure. Send Dr. Green a demand letter memorializing what you've outlined above here and demanding a full refund of all payments you;ve made to him based on his malpractice and if he does not pay you, then threaten to seek judicial intervention. If he does not respond appropriately after 2 weeks, then you can file an action in small claims court.