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Dead girl's family settles with dentist

The Crenshaws received $350,000 from the dentist's insurer and are fighting a law that limits some malpractice awards.

By Debbie Salamone

SANFORD - The family of an Altamonte Springs girl who died in a dentist's chair has settled its medical malpractice lawsuit against the dentist.

Scott and Barbara Crenshaw have received $350,000 from the insurance company of Altamonte Springs dentist Dwight Barron. They could receive another $600,000 if the Florida Supreme Court decides that limiting the amount of some medical malpractice awards is unconstitutional.

"It wasn't much of a settlement, but I was glad we didn't have to go through the trial process," Barbara Crenshaw said,

The Crenshaws sued Barron for negligence after their daughter, Jenny, died in August 1989.

Medical experts have said Barron gave Jenny, 8, a lethal dose of medication; Barron said the girl had an allergic reaction.

Barron's attorney, Joe McGuire, would not comment.

The state has stripped Barron of his dentist's license, and he was sentenced to house arrest and probation after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Barbara Crenshaw said the family had little choice but to accept the settlement. Barren had decided not to have a trial, limiting the amount the Crenshaws could collect under the law to $350,000.

The Crenshaws' attorney, Russell Troutman, has argued that the law is unconstitutional.

But even if the law is overturned, Barbara Crenshaw said, it would not help much. Barron's insurance policy has a $1 million maximum, and he has declared bankruptcy.

The mother said she has used the money to pay medical, counseling and other bills that piled up during the lengthy court proceedings.

"The settlement helped with everything," she said. "But it is not compensation for the loss of Jenny."

From:
The Orlando Sentinel
Wed., July 2, 1992