Director of Proceedings v Lakra

Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal Den15/309D (23 July 2015)

The Director of Proceedings brought a charge against a dentist, Dr Lakra, in the Health Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal.

Dr Lakra was performing a routine root canal on his teenage patient when an instrument separated in his patient's tooth. This is a known complication of root canal treatment. Dr Lakra did not disclose to his patient that the instrument had separated and remained in his tooth. Two years later the patient returned for a routine check-up. An infection in the tooth containing the separated instrument was discovered and treated by Dr Lakra at four subsequent treatments. On each occasion Dr Lakra omitted to mention to his patient that the reason for the infection was the presence of a separated instrument in the root canal which had not been completely cleaned before the separation occurred.

The patient eventually saw another dentist who took x-rays and noted the presence of the instrument. The patient's tooth had been further damaged by Dr Lakra's failed attempts at retrieving the instrument and required replacement.

The Tribunal viewed Dr Lakra's failure to inform his patient of the separated instrument and obtain his informed consent to on-going treatment seriously. The Tribunal censured Dr Lakra and imposed a $3000 fine.

The Tribunal's decision can be found at:

Last reviewed February 2019