Dental Anesthesia Mishaps Lead to Children’s Deaths

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. A mother brings her toddler in for a routine dental procedure and her child passes away. That is the reality for Betty Squire, a young Texas mother whose 14-month-old daughter, Daisy Lynn Torres, died after being administered anesthesia for a cavity filling in March 2016. This recent tragedy brings to light the dangers of using anesthesia on children during minor dental procedures.

When Ms. Squire brought Daisy into the dentist’s office at Austin Children’s Hospital to have two cavities filled, the dental staff informed her that they were going to put her under anesthesia and the procedure was going to take 40 to 45 minutes. Shortly after the procedure began, the dentist allegedly came out and told Ms. Squire that more extensive work needed to be done. According to Ms. Squire, 10 minutes later, the dentist came into the waiting room and admitted to her that something went wrong. Daisy started having trouble breathing and went into cardiac arrest. The dental staff administered CPR on the toddler and the child was rushed to the emergency room, where she passed away five hours later.

Similar tragedies have been reported nationwide. In March 2015, Tim and Eliza Sears brought their six-year-old son Caleb to an oral surgeon in Albany, California to remove a tooth that was growing in the wrong spot in his mouth. According to Mr. Sears, Caleb was under general anesthesia for the procedure that required cutting into the bone on the roof of his mouth. Caleb stopped breathing after the oral surgeon administered general anesthesia. According to Mr. Sears, the dental staff did not catch it until his oxygen levels had dropped too low and he went into cardiac arrest. Caleb suffered massive injuries and died two days later at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

In January 2014, three-year old Finley Puelo Boyle of Hawaii, who had no underlying heart problems, suffered a heart attack and died during a dentist’s visit because of the drugs used to sedate her, according to authorities. Her autopsy report revealed that the child had received five different drugs in preparation of the cavity fillings and root canals: Demerol, hydroxyzine, chlorohydrate, laughing gas and a local anesthetic, lidocaine with epinephrine.

When using an anesthesiologist for a procedure, dentists, oral surgeons and dental hygienists need to be familiar with the patient’s health status and other conditions that may adversely affect the child. According to RDH Magazine, most reactions develop within five to 10 minutes. Local anesthesia should be individualized for each patient. Young children with low body weight are at extreme risk for receiving relatively large amounts of local anesthetic.

If you or someone you love has suffered an adverse reaction or died as a result of dental malpractice or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney is vital in protecting your rights. Contact the dedicated, experienced attorneys at Levine & Slavit, PLLC for the representation you deserve.  Call (888) LAW-8088.

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