DESPITE the £17,500 pay out, no one would want to be in Kenneth Taylor's position after a visit to the dentist went so horribly wrong.

I am not one to pointlessly bash the NHS or any medical services as I realise this is unfair on the majority of staff who perform brilliantly every day. But it seems across the board, communication and planning when it comes to medical care has some huge holes. Patients often don't know what is going on and I have learned from experiences with family members that there is nothing more unsettling than coming away from a hospital or a dentist with mixed messages and question marks over your condition or your care.

Mr Taylor not only had to put up with excruciating pain, but a worrying series of brush-off answers to questions about why he was in so much pain, and what the horrible 'cracking' sound was when his dentist attempted to extract his wisdom tooth. This is not the sort of care a patient expects and only makes the suffering of a condition worse, adding a huge lump of anxiety on top of it all. Occasionally it pays to be a bit of a demanding pain in the backside if it means you will get your answers.

Another troubling element of the story is that negative experiences like Mr Taylor's may put other people off going to visit a dentist, people who are already twitchy about the subject and would happily use any excuse not to go.

The only advice I can give is to perhaps research the practice as much as you can, and if you are due to have a procedure, try to find other people who have had it done and find out where they had it carried out. Ask them what to expect and arm yourself with information.

No amount of money can make up for damaging a person's health, but I am glad Mr Taylor was compensated for his ordeal. But if I was in the position of having to take legal action against someone who was supposed to be looking after me, I would want to know exactly what went wrong, and what has been learned to stop it from happening to someone else. Let's hope that has happened in this case.