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3-year-old girl dies after root canal

In a case that has grabbed the attention of medical safety advocates in Massachusetts and across the nation, a 3-year-old girl in Hawaii died on Jan. 3 after she underwent a routine dental surgery in December. She suffered serious brain damage after the surgery, and the family has filed a civil lawsuit against the dentist and her practice for negligence and dangerous conduct. Official paperwork elaborated that the girl received the wrong dose of medication on Dec. 3, which resulted in brain damage and, ultimately, death. It further charged that the dentist did not have a plan to respond to medical emergencies.

After the death of the girl, a hospice provider who was with the family when the girl passed away expressed their support of the family and said they were glad to be able to be with them during the end-of-life process. Neither the dentist nor her lawyer provided a comment on the case; however, the former website for the dentist indicated that the practice is now permanently closed.

The case began when the child's mother took her to have her teeth checked in November. The girl reportedly had six cavities and needed four root canals. The cavities were apparently treated during an in-office visit, but the dentist performed the surgery in December. In what was possibly a case of anesthesia negligence, the parents claim that the girl was not monitored for 26 minutes while she was under sedation. A pediatric neurologist reported that MRIs determined that she was in a persistent vegetative sate.

People generally expect few, if any, complications during a routine surgery. A medical malpractice attorney might be able to help clients who have lost a loved one due to the negligence of a medical professional.

Source: CNN, "Hawaiian girl, 3, dies after dental procedure", Khushbu Shah, January 04, 2014

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