Last fall, a father took his 10-year-old son to the dentist for a tooth filling. To perform the procedure, workers at the office said that they needed to give the boy gas, nitrous oxide, in order to make sure he remained calm during the procedure. The boy’s father informed workers that his son had Treacher-Collins Syndrome. He also told workers that the medical condition could cause serious complications, but a doctor told the man that his son would be fine despite his medical condition.
Two days after the dental procedure was performed, the man’s son died.
An autopsy was performed and the results were released last week. The autopsy revealed that the boy suffered cardiorespiratory arrest after he was given nitrous oxide, which is an anesthetic. During the dental procedure, he stopped breathing and was rushed to a local hospital. The autopsy revealed that the gas caused the boy to suffer complications because of his medical condition. He was in a coma for two days until he died.
The boy’s death was ruled an accident, but some believe the death could have been prevented had doctors thoroughly considered how the dental procedure could have affected the boy’s medical condition. The boy’s father claims that he warned staff about his son’s medical condition, but the procedure was performed anyway. Reports have not stated whether the boy’s family plans on filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the dentist for failing to acknowledge that the boy’s health could have been jeopardized by the procedure.
Some complications during medical and dental procedures cannot be prevented. But when doctors are aware that patients suffer from pre-existing conditions, doctors need to consider whether certain procedures are still safe to perform or not. When doctors fail to consider how medical conditions could be affected by other medical or dental treatments, the consequences could be fatal.
Source: ValleyCentral.com, “Autopsy rules Harlingen dental death as accidental,” Marcy Martinez, Jan. 23, 2013
- Our firm provides counsel to families who have lost loved ones as a result of medical malpractice and anesthesia-related complications. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Chicago anesthesia injury lawyers page.