Dental Anesthesia Can Prove Dangerous

How often do anesthesia errors occur during dental procedures?

At times, it is necessary for dental patients to be put under anesthesia.  Anesthesia must be administered with care and patients need to be closely monitored the entire time they are under.  For children, the use of anesthesia to perform dental procedures has become increasingly common.  The death rate linked to dental anesthesia is thought to be about three deaths per every 1,000,000 persons, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research for Doctors.  Our NYC dental malpractice lawyers discuss a recent case involving a teen’s death during a dental procedure and what you should do if your loved one is injured while under anesthesia.

Teen Suffers Cardiac Arrest While Getting Teeth Pulled

In 2015, 17-year-old Sydney Galleger underwent a routine dental procedure to have her wisdom teeth pulled.  While under anesthesia, her heart rate plummeted and she lost her pulse.  She then suffered a number of seizures in the days that followed.  Days after the dental procedure, the hospital declared her brain dead.

The parents of the once active and vibrant teen filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the dentist and his staff, claiming that they did not act appropriately to the medical emergency.  They alleged that the physician incorrectly administered the general anesthesia and failed to provide proper monitoring during the surgery.  The family accepted a settlement in the amount of $2 million.  The dentist in question did not admit to wrongdoing and continues to practice.

Ask Your Dentist About Their Anesthesia Protocol

If you or your child will need to be put under anesthesia in order to undergo a dental procedure, you will want to carefully research your dentist and his or her intended course of action.  Ask your dentist about his or her training and read reviews online.  Never hesitate to seek a second opinion if you feel uncomfortable about the procedure.  Ask your physician what will happen before, during, and after the procedure.  Make sure your dentist will monitor you at all times during the procedure and has a plan in place in case your vital signs indicate distress.

Most dental procedures will be free of complications, but when an anesthesia error does occur, the results can be catastrophic.  Contact a dental malpractice attorney right away if you or a loved one has suffered an injury while under anesthesia.


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.