Denver parents of young children might have second thoughts about taking their children to dentists after reading about the death of a child while undergoing a dental procedure. The parents of a 6-year-old girl reached a settlement exceeding $1 million with a dentist’s insurance provider. Their child’s death gave rise to the medical malpractice lawsuit against the dentist. Reportedly, the cause of death was an overdose of local anesthetic.
Repeated administration of anesthetic
The young patient was at the dentist for work on several maxillary teeth. A local anesthetic was administered, but it was clear that the child experienced discomfort from the onset. The dentist gave her two more anesthetic capsules soon after the first dose.
However, after another 30 minutes, the patient became resistant and apprehensive. The dentist had one more tooth to treat, and thinking the anesthetic had worn off, he administered the third lot of anesthetic drugs. The young patient’s muscles twitched, and she lost consciousness within minutes.
Her nail beds and lips became dark, and her face was pale. Awaiting 911 responders, the dentist initiated positive pressure ventilation after opening the patient’s airway. Upon arrival, paramedics noticed color had returned to her face, but she remained unconscious. They rushed her to a hospital, but sadly, she never recovered.
The deceased child’s parents proceeded with the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit, alleging the dentist was negligent in administering excessive anesthetic doses. The court determined that the dentist deviated from standard care when he administered five carpules of anesthetic for a 40-pound child while the recommended dose is two carpules. The ultimate outcome was a settlement exceeding $1 million, and although it would not bring the young girl back, it would ease the financial burden of end-of-life arrangements and more.