Dental Malpractice: Unsafe Sedation Harming Some Children

Responsible parents start teaching their children at early ages how to properly care for their teeth, as well as finding reputable pediatric dentists to provide ongoing oral care.

Imagine the shock of having your young son or daughter seriously hurt or even killed at the dentist, a place you go to make them healthier.

After hearing from the grandparent of a child who allegedly died after she had been given too much sedation at the dentist, ABC News recently investigated the phenomenon of kids being harmed by dental offices unsafely administering sedation before dental procedures.

The inquiry uncovered a new trend wherein some dentists are apparently motivated by the extra profits that can be generated by using the sedating drugs before procedures, especially on children. In addition to the potential enhancement of the bottom line, courses are cropping up that promise quick training in such medications – quick as in over the weekend.

And some states’ laws consider short courses like this to be adequate training in oral sedation. Apparently, however, prominent dental experts do not agree and assert instead that “extensive training” is necessary to keep kids safe during dental sedation.

The investigation found that some dentists are even sedating kids for such minimally invasive procedures as teeth cleaning.

Another prong of this potential dental malpractice is that some of the dentists overusing sedation do not have the emergency medical training needed to handle the medical emergencies that can happen from improper or negligent use of sedation.

The report cites a foundation established to publicize these dangers to kids as saying that there have been more than 12 child deaths from dental sedation and that some children under age two have been subject to sedation.

If your child is the victim of dental or other medical malpractice, you should investigate the possibility of legal recourse. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can advise you of your rights and remedies.

Source: ABC News, “Death, Greed at the Dentist: American Children at Risk,” Megan Chuchmach and Brian Ross, July 12, 2012

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