81-year-old man kills himself after botched dental surgery left him in years of pain and without payout

'These big old organizations make you feel powerless,' Clive Worthington’s daughter Gina Tilly said

81-year-old man kills himself after botched dental surgery left him in years of pain and without payout
Image used for representation (Pexels/ Daniel Frank)

HARLOW, ESSEX: An 81-year old man’s years of suffering reportedly forced him to take his life after he underwent a botched dental work.

Clive Worthington was 81 when he killed himself in September 2022, The Independent reported.

The retired man not only endured pain and difficulty in eating but he also got affected by migraines and insomnia after receiving a fitted overdenture and dental implants from Perfect Profiles dentist Dr Eszter Gombos in 2008.

However, Worthington’s struggles did not end there. 

Despite being ordered by the court to pay him $141k compensation, his insurer did not give the money because of an apparent legal loophole.

Clive Worthington’s daughter Gina Tilly blasts the system

Gina Tilly, Worthington’s daughter, has now begun to fight for her late father. She told The Independent, “He was constantly going to dentists and asking if they can do anything for him.”

“It was a complete mess. In the end, he just knew he wasn’t going to get the help he wanted. Every time he felt like he was getting somewhere with his health or with the compensation claim – it just felt like too much to navigate,” she shared.

The 43-year-old woman continued, “These big old organizations make you feel powerless. I knew he’d been struggling, he was having a really hard time. I knew something was wrong but it was still a shock.”

She stated, “It’s completely devastated us. My daughter doesn’t know all the details. It’s just really terrible.

“Dad was one of ten children, so when this happened it wasn’t just about him, it had a big ripple effect.”

Clive Worthington’s doctor asked him to consult another expert

After the 2008 procedure when Worthington’s condition continued to get worse, Dr Gombos asked him to seek another expert’s advice.

She only asked him to apply for compensation from her insurers, which Worthington did, and took the matter to the General Dental Council (GDC).

Dr Gombos was found guilty of wrong procedure in 2017 and two years later in 2019, she was ordered to give $1,04,867.20 (£86,495.62) in damages and $37,442.28 (£30,882.80) in costs to the old man.

However, Worthington never received any compensation, even after his death, and a legal loophole, “discretionary indemnity”, is said to be behind it.

What is discretionary indemnity?

BBC citing the British Medial Association reported that discretionary indemnity is "where legal and financial assistance is provided at the discretion of the provider, for example, not backed by an insurance contract between the healthcare professional and the provider".

Calling out the government, Tilly told MailOnline, “It's [discretionary indemnity] just absolutely outdated and not fit for purpose.”

“My biggest question isn't about whether or not it should be allowed. It's why it hasn't already been stopped when the Government and the General Dental Council are well aware of the dangers and have been for some time,” she added.

Meanwhile, the General Dental Council said, “We encourage the Department of Health and Social Care to accelerate their work to review and update the existing provisions, which we as regulator can then apply.”

“We are working with the sector to improve access to compensation for clinical negligence and will ensure any changes are in the best interests of patients,” it noted.