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Illinois Dentist's Missing Tool Turns Up Days Later in Patient's Stomach

An Illinois man was awarded $675,000 after a tool his dentist misplaced during a root canal turned up inside his body a few days later.
Janus Pawlowicz said he went to his long-time dentist, Dr. Beata Kozar-Warchalowska in Des Plaines, about two years ago for a root canal procedure, and the dentist told him after the surgery that one of her tools had gone missing.
"The dentist, on the day of the procedure, knew that she dropped a tool but didn't know what happened to it. She looked around the room and couldn't find it," said Rob Kohen, Pawlowicz's attorney, told WLS-TV.
"She told me when she found it, she will be calling me," Pawlowicz said.
However, he said he never received a phone call, and a few days later he was hospitalized with sharp pains in his stomach.
Doctors discovered the dentist's missing tool had fallen down Pawlowicz's throat and ended up lodged in his stomach. The tool, called a barbed breach, was removed via emergency surgery.
"She's been my dentist for years. I didn't expect it would happen like this," Pawlowicz said.
Pawlowicz took Kozar-Warchalowska to court and was awarded a $675,000 settlement.
"A small dental instrument can be the effect of my life," he said.
Kohen said the dentist should have used a dental dam to prevent objects from falling down the patient's throat.
"It's rare that I've heard about, personally, but really what it comes down to is that this was completely preventable," Kohen told WBBM Newsradio.

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