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Dental surgery death leads to medical malpractice lawsuit

The family of a 17-year-old recently filed a lawsuit against three dental practices, an oral surgeon and an anesthesiologist, after their daughter died following a routine surgery to remove her wisdom teeth.

According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, at the start of the surgery the teen was given a regular dose of anesthesia. That first dose was not enough, and she was given more, which is standard procedure.

However, a short time later the 17-year-old's heart rate drastically dropped to just 40 beats per minute, and the oxygen level in her body also dropped. She ended up going into hypoxic arrest, and emergency responders were called. A pulse was regained in minutes; however she ended up dying while in a coma just 10 days later.

According to the state's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the 17-year-old died from the deprivation of oxygen, which had happened while she was under anesthesia. An autopsy revealed that she also suffered from brain damage and brain swelling.

Now the family has filed a lawsuit claiming that the oral surgeon and anesthesiologist failed to warn the parents of the risks involved with the medical procedure, and that they were negligent for failing to resuscitate their daughter.

The exact amount the family is seeking in compensation has not been reported, but it has been stated that the amount is more than $30,000.

Aside from the lawsuit, the mother of the teen is also working with the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation Inc., which is a group advocating for dental safety on a national level. Her hope is that the lawsuit, and sharing her daughter's story, will make a difference in preventing future dental-related deaths.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Parents of student who died after dental surgery sue for malpractice," Kevin Rector, Dec. 13, 2011

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