Cooper Law Firm
Quality, Affordable Legal Guidance
Se habla Español

Death after routine oral surgery spurs malpractice suit

It's not uncommon to hear doctors and nurses refer to surgery as a routine medical procedure. But when it comes to surgery of any kind, medical or dental, when anesthetic is involved, a lot can go wrong. Personal injuries can result. They sometimes lead to needless death.

The parents of a 17-year-old Woodstock high school girl are looking to make just that point. As the girl's mother put it recently, "I am trying to make people aware that a routine visit to the dentist or an oral surgeon can turn out to be anything but routine." The parents look to spotlight that message through a medical malpractice suit against the anesthesiologist and the oral surgeon involved.

According to documents filed for the case, the girl died in April, 10 days after she had gone to a Columbia dental practice for wisdom tooth surgery. At one point during the procedure, the girl's heart rate slowed to dangerously low levels, starving her brain of oxygen.

The top medical examiner for Maryland says that the girl eventually went into hypoxic arrest and emergency responders were called and then the anesthesiologist began attempting resuscitation efforts. She went into a coma. An autopsy determined that she died days later due to deprivation of oxygen.

The parents' suit claims that the anesthesiologist's resuscitation effort came too late and that she and the oral surgeon should have acted sooner. It says their daughter had no pulse and that precious minutes were lost between the start of resuscitation and when emergency responders were finally able to regain a pulse. The brain damage done, the suit says, was massive and irreversible.

At first, the parents accepted the official finding that the death was accidental. The mother said her view initially was that what happened was a freak thing. But she says she changed her mind after reading the official reports and medical records on the case.

In addition to the lawsuit, the mother of the girl has become involved in a charitable organization that seeks to promote dental safety nationwide. Her daughter is listed as one of 36 young people who have died as a result of dental-related mishaps since 1974.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Parents of student who died after dental surgery sue for malpractice," Kevin Rector, Dec. 13, 2011

1 Comment

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Cooper Law Firm Today A Diverse Professional Legal Team, Always Accessible to You. Call 866-405-0124.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response
  • Maryland Association for Justice
  • Bar Association of Montgomery County, MD
  • PGCBA | Prince George's County Bar Association | Over a century of service
  • MSBA | Maryland State Bar Association, Inc.

office location

Cooper Law Firm
8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 701
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Toll Free: 866-405-0124
Phone: 301-587-9170
Fax: 301-589-1585
Silver Spring Law Office Map