Death by Dentist: Malpractice Lawsuit — Teen Dies Following Wisdom Tooth Extraction

How can someone die during a simple wisdom tooth extraction?

It is hard to imagine the anguish of a family in Minnesota whose teenage daughter, Sydney Galleger, died in June 2015 as a result of what was supposed to be a routine extraction of her wisdom teeth. The family has filed a dental malpractice lawsuit against the girl’s oral surgeon, Dr. Paul Tompach of Edina, a suburb of Minneapolis, alleging that his behavior was “negligent and dangerous.”

If you or a family member suffers serious injury, or a loved one dies, as a result of dental malpractice in New York, you need a highly experienced New York oral surgery malpractice attorney to fight vigorously for your right to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Specifics of the Minnesota Case

In the spring of 2015, Sydney Galleger was a healthy student athlete preparing to make college visits before beginning her senior year of high school. The malpractice lawsuit filed in Hennepin County District Court alleges that Dr. Paul Tompach, her oral surgeon at the time, committed several egregious errors prior to and during the procedure, including not being prepared to cope with the emergency situation that arose. It is alleged that his incompetence led to Sydney’s tragic, untimely death.

The sequence of events on the fateful day was as follows: surgery started at 9 a.m. on June 9. Between 9:15 and 9:20 a.m., Sydney’s heart rate fell precipitously. She suffered cardiac arrest and had no discernible pulse. At 9:31 a.m., a call was placed to 911 and CPR was begun before EMTs arrived. EMTs, once they arrived, continued to work on the teen for about 20 minutes before taking her to the hospital. She died 6 days later from a lack of oxygen to the brain. Her organs were donated to needy recipients.

What mistakes is Dr. Tompach accused of making?

Dr.Tompach’s alleged errors include:

  • Incorrect administration of general anesthesia
  • Failing to provide proper monitoring during surgery
  • Having untrained dental assistants monitor the patient
  • Planning poorly for a medical emergency
  • Responding inadequately to the patient’s cardiac arrest
  • Failing to inform the patient’s parents of the risks of general anesthesia

While the dental extraction malpractice lawsuit against is still pending, the state Board of Dentistry launched its own investigation of Tompach. He can now, as of March, 2016, only practice dentistry under state licensing board restrictions.

The Gallegers, who were initially reluctant to sue the dentist, now agree with their lawyer that “The evidence in this case will clearly and convincingly demonstrate that [Tompach] had deliberate disregard for the safety of his patients.”

About the Author
Of all the different areas in medical malpractice, it is podiatry malpractice that has had a particular interest to me. With 42 years practicing law and representing hundreds of victims of malpractice, I have created a law practice in which my clients are comfortable knowing that their case is being handled with my personal attention, in the most professional manner, and without unreasonable delays.