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A pensioner who was “butchered” by a Hungarian dentist after spending her life savings on trying to fix her smile has received a five-figure payout.
Jackie Stokes was left in crippling agony as a result of botched dental work in Budapest after she forked out £9,500 for teeth implants.
The 70-year-old had an implant in her upper jaw and crowns on eight teeth after her dentist of 30 years went private and she was unable to afford the fees.
But the procedures went catastrophically wrong, leaving her with blisters, stitches that fell out and shifting implants that left her with an unsightly “bulldog bite.”
Jackie, of Burton-upon-Trents, Staffs, instructed medical negligence lawyers to investigate her case after she was left with “irreversible damage” to her teeth.
The insurance company for two dentists involved in her care in Hungary have now agreed to pay a five-figure settlement, despite initially denying liability.
Jackie said: “I wouldn’t wish what I’ve faced on anyone and would urge people to not just assume everything is as it seems when they arrange such treatment.
“Proper research is vital, as it will ensure you are able to make an informed decision about how to proceed with any treatment.
“No one should have to go through what I have.”
Jackie said she felt “robbed” of her life savings after a dentist advised her to have the work done abroad as it would be cheaper.
She said: “It’s left me feeling as if I have been butchered, physically assaulted and robbed of my life savings.
“It’s been a nightmare. This entire episode is indelibly etched upon my brain. It’s ruined my life.”
Widow Jackie was first advised by a dentist to have implants fitted in 2012 after a dentist told her gum disease had gone undetected for a number of years.
After speaking with a friend who had undergone similar treatment, she was eventually put in touch with a UK-based company which arranged for dental treatment abroad.
Following an assessment, it was determined that she would need five teeth removed, with five implants being fitted and crowns being added to eight others.
She was also informed the treatment would take place in the UK as well as during two trips to Budapest.
However, Jackie went on to suffer a range of issues during the treatment between 2012 and 2015, including severe pain and discomfort.
She became concerned when her front jaw was protruding, leaving a gap between her gums and upper teeth through which food would seep.
She also said implants placed under her nose went into the nasal cavity and left her in agony.
The implants failed and were later removed.
In total, Jackie said she had more than 25 visits to dentists over a number of years.
Following her treatment abroad and before her case settled, Jackie needed dentures because she was unable to afford the costly repairs.
Jackie had originally contacted a UK-based company and believed that the dentists in Hungary would be employed by that firm.
She added: “Throughout my treatment I was always under the impression I was dealing with an English company, which meant any support would be under the eye of the General Dental Council.
“However, as issues began to emerge, it became apparent that the company did not want to accept responsibility for the actions of the dentists in Hungary and I became angry and upset that nobody had told me that the treatment I received in Hungary would be provided by a different, Hungarian, company.
“The whole experience was a nightmare and that confusion just added another layer of difficulty to everything I was going through.”
Lawyers argued that inadequate checks were carried out in relation to bone density and as a result implants were placed in the front of her upper jaw when there was insufficient density in the bone there.
Furthermore, they said she struggled to come to terms with her appearance and also suffered emotional trauma as a result of her experience.
Cheryl Palmer-Hughes, one of the lawyers at Irwin Mitchell representing Jackie, said: “Jackie has endured an incredibly difficult few years after being advised to consider dental implants.
“We believe that there are worrying aspects to this case and the problems Jackie has suffered have had a major impact on her life.
“While nothing will change what she has been through, we hope this settlement will provide her with welcome support.”
Daniel Matchett, another of the lawyers who supported Jackie, added: “We would always urge anyone seeking cosmetic surgery abroad to ensure they understand all aspects of the treatment, including any potential risks, those involved in the treatment and details regarding the insurance which is in place to cover potential claims for compensation in case things go wrong.
“Anyone with concerns regarding such treatment should also seek legal advice as soon as possible.”