Suit Claims Dental Tool Went Down Man's Throat

Bernard Bell, 92, says he was hit with $20,000 in extra medical bills.

By Anthony Ponce
|  Thursday, Aug 8, 2013  |  Updated 3:45 PM EDT
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Bernard Bell says he needed two endoscopies to fish a one-inch dental tool out of his body. Anthony Ponce reports.

Bernard Bell says he needed two endoscopies to fish a one-inch dental tool out of his body. Anthony Ponce reports.

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A Chicago man on Monday filed a lawsuit against an Skokie dentist, accusing her of dropping a metal instrument down his throat that ultimately got stuck in his stomach.

It was last November when 92-year-old Bernard Bell said he went to visit Dr. Toni Wolf for a dental implant fitting and the one-inch long tool fell down his throat.

"I'm lying all the way back, and all of a sudden, she says, 'Did you catch it?' and I said, 'Catch what?'" Bell recalled Wednesday.

Instead of flowing through Bell's digestive track, he said the object stayed lodged in his stomach. He needed an MRI and ultimately an endoscopy to fish the device out.

"They couldn't find it," said Bell. "It wasn't in the same location that the MRI or X-Ray showed."

That meant a second endoscopy that Bell described as being extremely painful. He said doctors had to hold his arms because "the pain was unbelievable."

On top of that, he was stuck with more than $20,000 worth of extra medical bills. The two-count suit charges Wolf and the practice, Old Orchard Smiles, with medical malpractice and negligence and seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

"There are certain precautions, certain steps, that are standard care that were not taken here," said Bell's attorney, Raphael Strzelecki.

But Wolf's attorney, Bob Larsen, disagrees.

"Dr. Wolf was not negligent here. And when the facts of this case come to light, should it go to a jury trial, I'm confident the jury will find that to be the case," he said. 

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