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Dental procedure results in wrongful death of teen

Dentists must use the utmost care not to harm their patients, especially when they are using general anesthesia or conscious sedation which can be deadly if not administered properly.

Unfortunately, a thirteen-year-old girl suffered a wrongful death at the hands of her dentist because of a possible anesthesia error.

The teen was supposed to have her baby teeth removed; however, what appeared to be a simple routine surgery, ended with her tragic death. The wrongful death took place just before Christmas of last year.

During the dental procedure she had to be rushed to two different hospitals and placed on life support. She was unable to recover from the negligence inflicted on her during the sedation and she died on January 3, 2011.

Her cause of death was listed as respiratory arrest caused by complications from sedation during her oral surgery.

The dentist in this case agreed to refrain from using general anesthesia or conscious sedation on his patients while the case was being reviewed. He has since retired. The circumstances surrounding the wrongful death are still being investigated, but a partial medical malpractice settlement has recently been reached.

According to the settlement, the dentist's insurance company will pay nearly $1 million for this girl's untimely death.

It is still possible that further legal action will be brought on behalf of the wrongful death of this young teen. Hopefully, this settlement will send the message to Massachusetts dentists and doctors that negligence involving anesthesia can have serious consequences to their patients and that anesthesia errors are not acceptable.

Source: The Morning Journal, "Settlement on death from dental procedure," Kate Snyder, Oct. 29, 2011

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