A pair of Howard County, Maryland, doctors have been named in a medical malpractice suit filed by the parents of a teenager who died after what should have been a oral surgery to have her wisdom teeth removed.
The girl, 17, died on April 6, just 10 days after the high school junior received anesthesia in preparation for the removal of her wisdom teeth. Soon after the anesthesia was administered, she began showing signs of a slow heart rate, the lawsuit says. Once her heart rate dropped to 40 beats per minute, the anesthesiologist and oral surgeon did not resuscitate her, according to the suit. According to the lawsuit, the first dosage of anesthesia was not enough to put the girl fully under, so a second dose was administered.
Three dental practices affiliated with the doctors also have been named as defendants.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the teen died of hypoxia, which means she was deprived of oxygen. Autopsy results showed the girl suffered brain damage and swelling of the brain.
Paramedics who arrived on the scene were able to revive the teen and find her pulse within four minutes. She was taken to Howard County General Hospital and transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she died after never coming out of a coma. The autopsy ruled the death an accident, and law enforcement did not investigate the death, authorities said.
The lawsuit does not specify the damages the girl’s parents are seeking. It does lay out five accusations against the doctors, including a claim that the doctors never informed the parents of any risks. The girl’s parents are seeking a jury trial, which has yet to be scheduled.
According to one dental safety advocacy group, 36 kids have died during dental-related procedures since 1974.