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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Dear All, I am a dentist and a patient came in as a

Customer Question

Dear All,
I am a dentist and a patient came in as a emergency and wanted a crown recementing back to her implant. She came in as a emergency and was treated as a private patient.
I said I would like to take an x-ray first and then I would call her back as I need to look at the xray .She left her mobile phone in the surgery on the bench opposite the side that i w a working. She did not tell me that she left the phone there .I did not acknowledge that she left the phone there.
I explained that it could be up to 3 to 4 minutes . I also had another patient who was complaining about another dentist at the practice and wanted me to see her for a second opinion. I called this patient in while the first patience x-ray was being developed. This particular patient her I was in discussion with about the complaint and then left the room after our discussion. And then I caught the first patient back. While I was in the discussion with the second patient myself and my nurse were in the room all the time.
After I recement did the crown for the first patient she was happy and left to pay the reception desk. She then came back and said she left her mobile phone in the surgery and we could not find it. It was assumed that the first patient could have taken it by mistake as it was on the same side as you were sitting.
We subsequent subsequently called the police and they investigated and explain after their investigation that they could not pursue a charge on the second patient as while the phone was left in the surgery myself and my nurse was still present.
The first patient now wishes to claim against my insurance for her phone which she calculates at £500 plus compensation for her lots of photos music games contact details notes. And she wishes to have reasonable compensation for the stress and time that it has caused her and her family.
I explain to her that I was happy to help her as much as I can and in fact on the day it happened because we called the police for her. And stayed with her for it least an hour as she was very upset. We also looked at all the CCTV cameras for her and with the police to try and ascertain if the mobile phone was seen with the second patient just in case.
She wishes to claim against my practice insurance
She has written me a letter and the letter is as follows
“Mr Patel was aware I put my phone on the table while getting an x-ray. Mr Patel asked me to wait in a different room to which my phone was placed waiting room for three minutes to allow him to examine my x-ray before continuing my treatment. Unknown to me he called another patient in the room due to a complaint. It took approximately 25 minutes maybe longer before I was called back into the treatment room to discover the phone is gone. This incident could have been prevented if I only knew another patient was going to be seen by Mr Patel, I would take my phone with me. Mr Patel knew my phone was in his care, because he told me he saw it on the table. Therefore he took responsibility for the safety of my phone. Mr Patel should have told me the truth that he needed to see another patient to give me the opportunity to have taken my personal belongings with me I was disappointed and angry that this had happened.
To conclude I believe I'm entitled to claim over £500 in damages for the cost of my phone whilst whilst this was taken under the care of Mr Patel and for consequential damages. It should have been noted that Mr Patel had an implied duty of care to all his patients and that on this occasion I want my physical well-being is not as not been compromised, I found that this duty of care has been broken through failing to inform me of his intention to invite other patient into his room for knowledge that my belongings were in the same room).”
In response to her letter I did not vividly recall seeing her phone left on the side and my concentration was with the patient afterwards about her the discussion. I did not take ownership of her phone and my duty of care is only to her dental treatment. Most insurance companies for mobile phones state that the phone should always be in her presents. It is normal practice for patients to take all the personal belongings with them from the practice surgery at all times.
I do not have a sign in the practice that says all personal belongings are the responsibility for patient patient and we do not take responsibility. She is also seeking to complain on the NHS complaints website, there are treatment was not carried out on the national health as it was independent and also she specifically was charged and independent fee.
My questions are do I actually take responsibility for the phone.
I have evidence was that it was a year old and I have a receipt from the mobile phone company that it was a Samsung SEH gold 32GB.
My practice insurance I have phoned twice and the legal advice from them is that I am not liable as I did not take ownership of the phone .
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 2 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

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