For many Pennsylvania residents, going to the dentist ranks among the least pleasant items on one’s to-do list. People hold a wide range of phobias about dental procedures, but many stem from the simple discomfort of the setting. One recently settled medical malpractice case suggests that they may be more to be scared of than the drill.
The case centers around the tragic death of a 17-year-old high school student. The teen went in for a routine wisdom teeth surgery. However, at some point during the procedure, her heart rate fell, reducing the flow of oxygen to her brain. As a result, she emerged from the procedure in a coma, and lost her life just 10 days later.
Her family sued the oral surgeon, anesthesiologist, another doctor and the medical practices associated with those professionals. Within their lawsuit, the family claimed that the medical professionals were negligent when they failed to revive the teen as her heart rate slowed; leading to the brain injury that eventually killed her. In all, the suit claimed five counts of negligence as well as additional medical failures.
The case was recently settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. The reasons behind medical malpractice suits differ for families in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. For this family who lost their child just over two years ago, no outcome could serve to eliminate their grief. However, closing this chapter may allow them a sense of justice in the matter, and assist them in moving on with their lives while honoring the memories of their family member.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Malpractice claim in teen’s wisdom teeth death settled out of court,” Kevin Rector, April 3, 2013