CBS Atlanta News is following an exclusive investigation into the deaths of three boys from Georgia who lost their lives following routine dental procedures. The boys, ages 14 to 21, all died within a month of each other. Each boy had his wisdom teeth extracted 16 to 72 hours before dying.
The families of the boys are speaking out for the first time in an effort to warn other parents of the dangers associated with such dental procedures. The parents of the victims claim that they were not forewarned of the possible dangers associated with nitrous oxide.
Nitrous oxide remains a routine part of dental surgeries in spite of mounting proof of its dangerous side effects. Researchers have found that patients who were given nitrous oxide as part of their anesthetic were more likely to experience wound infections.
One boy’s death was ruled a result of natural causes, but the coroner was unable to establish what caused his death. Another boy’s death was ruled as a bad reaction to penicillin. But dental experts say that infections are one of the principal causes of dental deaths and in the case of these boys, it would seem that complications from anesthesia may have played some part in the deaths.
The human mouth has more bacteria than any other part of the body, and that bacteria can become deadly if it gets into the blood stream. Patients can develop a post-operative infection that can lead to death. The brain swells and then brain damage can set in or brain death can result.
Reactions to anesthesia and inhalation of blood into the lungs, which can cause suffocation, and bad reactions to prescribed drugs are all possible causes of death following dental procedures warn experts.
A study published in Pediatrics in 2000 found that a disproportionately large number of adverse sedation events in pediatrics (defined in the study as patient who were under 20 years-old) occur with dental treatment when compared to other medical specialties. In addition, a significantly higher proportion of those children who experienced an adverse sedation event in a non-hospital facility (such as a dental practice or dental office) suffered death or permanent neurological injury when compared to a hospital. The takeaway from this is to understand that general sedation in a dentist’s office should not be routinely assumed to be safe. In fact, many times it is not and the complications that result from improper sedation during dental procedures in the dentist’s office can be fatal.
We are experienced Georgia Dental Malpractice lawyers who regularly handle cases related to negligent dental care. If you suspect that you or someone you know has suffered a serious injury due to dental malpractice, please call Robert J. Fleming today at (404) 525-5150. Attorney Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna.