Two years ago, a botched routine oral surgery grabbed headlines when it led to the wrongful death of a 17-year-old girl from Woodstock. Like many other teens in Maryland and around the nation, the girl had undergone a procedure to have her wisdom teeth removed.
During the procedure, the girl was deprived of oxygen and she eventually died 10 days later after falling into a coma as a result of the procedure. An autopsy proved that she died because her brain received insufficient amounts of oxygen.
Just recently, the victim’s parents settled a medical malpractice lawsuit that they had filed over the matter. The parents of the victim aimed the civil suit at everyone involved in the surgery, including the surgeon, anesthesiologist and all the affiliated medical practices. The suit was originally filed in 2011.
In the case, the parents argued that the parties were negligent. They said that the medical professionals overlooking the procedure should have revived the girl when her heart rate level dropped to dangerously low levels. The drop in her heart rate is what caused her brain to become deprived of oxygen.
The terms of the settlement were not made public through media reports. The victim’s parents had filed the suit claiming five separate counts of negligence in the case. Roughly $30,000 could have been tied in with each of those counts, giving a vague glimpse of the amount of money the victim’s parents might have received in damages.
The defense in the case said that the girl’s death could possibly be attributed to a preexisting condition, such as a mental or physical condition. The autopsy performed on the victim did not suggest this, as the results showed she was otherwise a healthy individual.
If a patient suffers injury or even death due to negligence during a medical treatment, the offending parties should be held accountable. This can only be done through a civil lawsuit, which hits medical professionals and their practices where it hurts – their pocketbooks.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Malpractice claim in teen’s wisdom teeth death settled out of court,” April 3, 2013