Dublin dentist receives top award following life-saving diagnosis

by Rachel Cunningham
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Dublin dentist Dr Clodagh McAllister of Fairview Dental Clinic in Dublin 3 has been announced as the Colgate Caring Dentist of the Year 2022. 

Dr McAllister was recognised for her outstanding clinical skills after diagnosing a condition in a patient that, had it gone undetected, would have proven fatal. 

In September 2020, the patient, a mother of two, had initially presented at the dentist with bleeding gums. The bleeding was so severe that her mouth had filled with blood. 

Dr McAllister attributed the bleed to malnutrition, explaining to her patient that she suspected she may have an infection in the liver. 

Commenting on the experience, the patient said: “I presented to Dr Clodagh and within less than a minute she told me, in her extremely calm manner, that she felt it was a doctor I needed, and not a dentist. 

“I suffer from an anxiety disorder, and Clodagh is aware of this. She made me feel so safe, and that everything was going to be okay. She even called the GP for me.” 

The patient, was in a hospital A&E department within half an hour and spent the following 10 days in hospital. She had a build-up of fluid on her brain, lungs and heart and was diagnosed with stage four liver failure. 

“The doctors told me that had I waited another 72 hours, I would have been looking at a maximum of 12 weeks to live. It is because of Clodagh that my children have a mother and my husband has a wife. Clodagh saved my life,” the patient added. 

The annual Colgate Caring Dentist of the Year awards recognise dentists who have provided dental treatment and care above the call of duty, often with transformative effects, as nominated by patients and members of the public. 

The four-person judging panel felt that Dr McAllister’s ability to immediately recognise the condition and diagnose it in such a timely manner went far beyond the knowledge and expertise required of a family practitioner.

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