A dentist dropped a 3cm-long spike down a woman’s throat during root canal surgery – and then DROVE her to hospital in agony.
Vanessa Snary, 29, was under anaesthetic to numb her mouth so didn’t feel the sharp pin file drop into her mouth while she was in the dentists’ chair.
She started to choke as the hand tool slipped down her throat but claimed dentist Dr Ester Torrejimeno didn’t call 999 and insisted on driving her to hospital herself.
She was rushed into emergency surgery when X-rays revealed the tool had pierced her insides and lodged in her upper stomach.
Vanessa was left with injuries to her stomach and voice box and unable to speak for nearly a week, and claims she lost her job due to taking time off.
She is now faced with the “traumatic” prospect of more root canal treatment to finish the work started by the dentist in Fishponds, Bristol.
Shaken Vanessa, who says the accident happened after she wasn’t offered a mouth guard, said: “I didn’t really feel it hit the back of my throat.
“The dental file was knocked out of my mouth and I started to choke.
“I realised I was choking on something. It happened very quickly. It was extremely frightening – I didn’t know what I had swallowed.
“I didn’t know until she made me aware and showed me what I had swallowed, which is when the panic kicked in.
“Approximately five or six members of staff were called into the room – dental nurses, dentists, reception staff.
“They just watched me choke on it and no ambulance was called.
“Following choking my body had pushed it down and it reached my stomach and was stuck.
“Nobody at this point had called for an ambulance.
“To me it’s a freak accident that should not have happened and it was not dealt with in the right way either.”
Vanessa, a former helpdesk manager, said the nightmare happened on November 8 when she went to Smile Pad’s Oldbury Court Dental Centre for routine treatment.
She said she urged staff to call 999 but instead they told her to wait downstairs before Dr Torrejimeno drove her the 25-minute journey to Southmead Hospital.
Doctors administered a cocktail of drugs to ease the pain before performing surgery the following day to remove the file which she claims perforated her insides.
Vanessa’s ordeal was so shocking she said experts from wards across the hospital visited her room in curiosity.
She added: “It’s not something they had come across before.”
She claims as she recovered after the surgery she got a call from her employer’s human resources department saying her contract was terminated because she had taken too much sick leave.
Speaking of her hospital stay, Vanessa, said: “I was on nil by mouth in my own bedroom away from everybody, given lots of different drugs and cocktails.
“I was quite heavily sedated so I didn’t move and was effectively pain free.
“I didn’t expect this to happen, especially from a well-known dentist with such a high reputation and given the fact that this is only my third appointment with them as a relatively new patient.
“I was always made to feel at ease there.”
Dr Torrejimeno, who qualified in Madrid in 2005, was working on a self-employed basis at the clinic when the incident happened.
Vanessa said the dentist repeatedly tried to phone her to check she was ok, but she was “too traumatised” to answer.
She said she has received a card and flowers from Dr Torrejimeno following her surgery
Vanessa said: “These are professionals trained to be able to deal with emergency situations. I still can’t understand why I wasn’t taken to a hospital in an ambulance.”
Vanessa, who lives with partner Mark Gallop, 44, has now restarted root canal treatment at a different dentist.
She added: “It took a lot of crying and a lot of reassurance from my partner because mentally I had been through quite an ordeal.
“Future dental appointments are going to be quite traumatic for me.”
Dr Torrejimeno apologised for the “unfortunate incident”.
She added: “I would like to apologise once again to Ms. Snary that the treatment did not go as expected.
“I always aim to provide the best possible care to all patients and have taken steps to ensure that something like this does not occur again.”