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Dentist sued over alleged nerve damage

November 14, 1997

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

A Boonsboro woman has filed a $20 million lawsuit against a dentist she claims caused permanent nerve damage that has left her with chronic pain that her lawyer compared to a 24-hour-a-day migraine headache.

According to the suit filed Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court, Sandra J. Garcia visited Dr. John F. Seidel for a dental procedure in January 1995, and left with an incurable pain.

"I think this case is a substantial case and certainly falls in the seven-figure range," said attorney Leonard P. Buscemi. "This is not something you want to discuss with your kids, or they'll never want to go to the dentist."

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Seidel, reached at his practice in Salisbury, Md., declined to comment.

At the time of the incident, Seidel owned a practice on East Baltimore Street in Hagerstown. According to the suit and Buscemi, Seidel gave Garcia an anesthetic injection which caused nerve damage.

Buscemi said Garcia screamed so loud that her husband heard her from the waiting room.

"Instead of stopping the injection, he continued in the face of pain. He continued and caused nerve damage," Buscemi said.

Specifically, the suit asks for $5 million each in compensatory damage for two counts, negligence and informed consent. The suit also requests $10 million in punitive damages.

The suit contends Seidel failed to inform Garcia of the risks of the procedure or the alternatives. Buscemi said this is especially relevant because Seidel used a "very unconventional technique" that is "very risky."

Buscemi said there is no cure for Garcia's condition short of severing the nerve, which would leave her with no feeling at all. In the meantime, he said she cannot work or live a normal life.

"She is in chronic pain. She has terrible, chronic pain," he said. "It's extremely devastating."

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