Dental surgery case involving death of 17-year-old settled
Few fears are greater than the dread of burying your child. You expect they will long outlive you, and the prospect of choosing a burial plot and casket for your child is virtually unimaginable for most parents. Sadly, parents of a 17-year-old girl from Maryland had that experience in 2011.
Still a junior in high school, the girl suffered a severe brain injury during the operation to remove her wisdom teeth. She went into a coma and died within ten days. Her autopsy indicated she suffered a loss of oxygen to her brain during the surgery. Her parents filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the oral surgeon and anesthesiologist involved with the surgery.
The girl was listed as “healthy teenager with no significant medical history” at the time of the surgery. Her parents indicted they wanted to raise awareness of the dangers posed by dental surgery. The allegations in the complaint included five counts of medical negligence by her doctors, with damages in excess of $150,000.
Of course, anytime you enter a medical facility for any kind of procedure, there are risks. This is why doctors and hospitals are held to a standard of care. We know they are in control and have our lives, literally, in their hands during a surgery. When doctors deviate from that standard of care, that breach is negligence.
The case settled with a confidential settlement, so we do not know what the terms were, but the statement indicates that it “was settled to the satisfaction of all parties.” No matter what the final terms were, it is unlikely her parents where truly “satisfied.”
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Malpractice claim in teen’s wisdom teeth death settled out of court,” Kevin Rector, April 3, 2013