Many teenagers have their wisdom teeth removed. If the extractions are performed while the patient is still young, the procedure is less likely to lead to complications. Tragically, this was not the case according to reports, for the family of a 17 year-old who died from alleged anesthesia complications during a wisdom tooth extraction. The teen was under general anesthesia in the oral surgeon’s office when her heart rate dropped dramatically. Despite a call being placed to emergency 9-1-1 and CPR being administered before the paramedics could arrive, the teen died from a lack of oxygen to the brain caused by her heart failing.
In addition to paying the $2 million settlement, the oral surgeon who caused the death was temporarily suspended from practicing dentistry 6 weeks after the incident and disciplined by the state board of dentistry.
All medical providers, whether they be doctors, nurses, dentists or oral surgeons have a duty to administer anesthesia appropriately and to properly monitor the patient during and after the procedure to ensure there are no complications related to the anesthesia. If there are complications, the medical provider must comply with the standard of care and uncover the complication and treat it in an appropriate and timely manner. Failure to comply with the standard of care constitutes negligence and the practitioner is liable for all damages (up to and including death) that flow from the negligence.
In Georgia, the standard of care for dental malpractice is a national one, i.e, what a reasonably prudent dentist would do under like or similar circumstances. To apply this standard, one must ask, would it be reasonable and prudent, for instance, for the dentist to place a patient under anesthesia and then leave the room, take a phone call, not monitor all vital signs or use out-dated equipment. In other words, a full inquiry must be made in case that involve complications from general anesthesia. There are simply too many variables in every case to determine whether a bad outcome was the result of negligence or unavoidable without fully exploring the facts of that particular case.
If you or a loved one suffers death or another serious complication from dental anesthesia, time is of the essence. You should contact an experienced dental lawyer who can ensure that all of the evidence is preserved and all of your legal rights are preserved until a full and complete investigation can be conducted and a decision can be made whether a lawsuit should be pursued.
For more than 20 years, Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, personal injury, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been injured or died as a result of the negligence of others in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area, including Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, College Park, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured or died while under anesthesia and would like quality legal representation or if you would just like to consult about a potential case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.