Dental Surgery Death Sparks Anesthesia Concerns

What are the risks of dental surgery?

A 17-year-old in Florida died after being sedated for a simple dentistry procedure. The death has resulted in investigations by the Florida Department of Health. Now, the dentist involved has voluntarily relinquished his license. The family of the deceased teen is calling for lawmakers to more closely examine sedation used in dentistry to prevent like tragedies. Our New York dental malpractice attorneys examine the potential risks of dental surgery, including anesthesia injuries or death.

A Simple Procedure Gone Wrong

In 2016, a 17-year-old underwent dental surgery to remove several teeth so that he could get braces. His family anticipated that it would be a simple surgery. Sadly, however, the teen stopped breathing while under anesthesia. He ended up on life support then passed away two days after the extraction.

Later, the young man’s parents learned that the dentist who performed the procedure had at least two other administrative complaints for failing to take preoperative radiographs. Further, the family believed the dentist to be an oral surgeon, and thus felt secure with the sedation procedure. They discovered after the incident that the dentist was not a surgeon. The family filed a wrongful death case in the aftermath of this tragic death which has since been resolved.

Complications from Oral Surgery

Most patients undergo dental surgery without much concern for their safety. Generally, these procedures are completed smoothly and without lasting ill effects. At times, however, a surgical or anesthesia error can result in permanent injury or death.

Anesthesia is necessary in some dental procedures, but any procedure involving anesthesia comes with recognized risks. It is vital that dentists take measures to preserve patient safety before, during, and after sedation. In many states, a dentist is allowed to perform the sedation alone, without the guidance of a licensed anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist, as was the case in the Florida teen’s death. This practice can lead to anesthesia errors as dentists may lack training in this specialized field.

Other potential complications include infection, nerve damage, unnecessary extractions, and damage to the jaw. Anyone who has had dental surgery performed and suffered an injury as a result should consult with a dental malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will evaluate your potential case and take steps to preserve your legal rights.

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.