The parents of a 17-year-old woman who died shortly after undergoing a dental procedure in Minnesota have settled their dental malpractice claims against the oral surgeon who performed the wisdom teeth extractions on June 9, 2015, reportedly receiving just over $2 million to settle their wrongful death claims.
The dental wrongful death lawsuit that was filed in January 2017 alleged that the defendant oral surgeon was negligent in administering general anesthesia to the teenager and that he negligently failed to properly monitor her during the dental surgery procedure, which led to her death six days later that an autopsy determined was due to the deprivation of oxygen to her brain as a result of cardiac arrest.
The wisdom teeth extraction surgery apparently was going well until the end of the procedure, at which point the patient’s blood pressure rose significantly, her pulse then dropped, and she went into cardiac arrest that ultimately caused her brain to swell. Despite CPR efforts and paramedics arriving promptly and transporting the young woman to the hospital, she continued to have seizures that led to a condition from which she could not recover, and her parents made the difficult decision to remove her from life support. She died shortly thereafter.
An investigation into the incident and the oral surgeon by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry found the following:
– The oral surgeon failed to utilize required monitoring equipment during the patient’s surgery. Specifically, he failed to use an end-tidal carbon dioxide (“ETCO2”) monitor or precordial stethoscope, as required, in order to provide continuous ETCO2 monitoring. Instead, the oral surgeon used his stethoscope to determine vital signs;
– Throughout the patient’s surgery, the oral surgeon did not print and maintain vital sign monitor printout recordings, despite having the ability to do so. Moreover, it was his general practice not to print out and maintain vital sign monitor printout recordings when performing surgeries;
– Throughout the patient’s surgery, the oral surgeon did not complete and maintain a time-oriented anesthesia sheet for the patient’s vital signs to indicate “real time” of surgical and post-surgical events. Moreover, it was the oral surgeon’s general practice to not complete and maintain time-oriented anesthesia sheets for patients’ vital signs to indicate “real time” of surgical and post-surgical events when performing surgeries;
– An August 5, 2015 inspection of the oral surgeon’s crash cart revealed the presence of the following expired materials: (1) multiple-dose vial of Flumazenil (Romazicon), expiration date: I0l20l4; (2) multiple-dose vial of Naloxone HCL 0.4 mgAvIL, expiration date: 1llll20l4; and (3) endotracheal tube, expiration date: 1112013;
– The oral surgeon employed, assisted, and/or enabled allied dental personnel to practice dentistry, in that the oral surgeon inappropriately allowed licensed and unlicensed dental assistants to perform tasks, which exceeded their legal scope of practice, including by allowing such assistants to monitor patients during preoperative, intraoperative, and/or postoperative phases of general anesthesia prior to the assistants successfully completing Board-approved allied dental personnel courses in monitoring sedated patients comprised of intravenous access and general anesthesia and moderate sedation training;
– Throughout the patient’s surgery, the oral surgeon allowed his licensed and unlicensed dental assistants to monitor the patient during preoperative, intraoperative, and/or postoperative phases of general anesthesia, despite the fact that his assistants had not successfully completed Board-approved allied dental personnel courses in monitoring sedated patients comprised of intravenous access and general anesthesia and moderate sedation training.
The Minnesota Board of Dentistry determined that “on June 9, 2015, Licensee [the oral surgeon] failed to adequately manage and respond to the medical emergency.”
On July 3, 2017, the 54-year-old oral surgeon reportedly became a part-time clinical assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry (he was hired a few days after the final restrictions on his dental license were lifted by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry).
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries (or worse) due to possible dental malpractice in Minnesota or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly seek the advice of a dental malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your dental malpractice claim for you and file a dental malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate.
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