When an individual seeks medical care, he or she assumes a high level of professionalism and expertise will be applied to their specific medical concern. The same level of care is expected in dental procedures, as well. Massachusetts residents place their trust in the competence and skill of the medical professionals who serve them and in many cases, place their lives in the hands of these individuals. When that trust is violated, a medical malpractice suit becomes an avenue of legal recourse.
One family filed such a suit after the tragic death of their 17-year-old daughter. The teen went in for a routine wisdom teeth surgery, but emerged in a coma. She lost her life just 10 days later. Her autopsy report indicated that her death was caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain during the course of the surgery.
Within the medical malpractice suit filed by the girl's parents, the claim was made that the surgical team was negligent in not reviving their patient when her heart rate slowed to a dangerous level. As a result, the flow of oxygen to her brain was greatly reduced, leading to the brain injury that ultimately killed her. The suit named the oral surgeon, anesthesiologist, and other doctor, as well as the business entities associated with those professionals.
Details of the settlement are not public, which is not uncommon in cases brought in Massachusetts and across the nation. However, the girl's mother released a statement to say that the settlement was satisfactory to all parties. The mother had previously expressed the hope that the suit would lead to an increased awareness of the dangers of dental surgery. It is hoped that the end of the medical malpractice suit will give the family some sense of closure over two years after the loss of their daughter.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Malpractice claim in teen's wisdom teeth death settled out of court," Kevin Rector, April 3, 2013