Recently, a family experienced the tragedy of losing their healthy 17 year old daughter resulting from complications following a routine wisdom teeth extraction. The procedure was nearly completed when suddenly, the teen went into cardiac arrest. Although she was transferred to a children’s hospital, she suffered seizures and swelling in the brain. After surgery to reduce the swelling was unsuccessful, the teen passed away.
Teeth extraction is a common procedure that is usually performed in an oral surgeon’s office. It is not generally viewed by patients or doctors as major surgery, but complications can arise if the patient has an underlying medical condition. Although the teenager who died as a result of the teeth extraction seemed healthy, it is believed that she may have had an underlying heart condition that could have been aggravated by the anesthetic.
According to a report in the American Journal of Public Health, 10 million wisdom teeth are removed every year and 6.7 million of those extractions are not medically necessary.
Although it is extremely rare that a routine procedure such as a tooth extraction would be fatal, a doctor in such circumstances could be held liable for medical malpractice if they were found to be negligent. Medical negligence arises when:
- The doctor owed a duty of care to their patient
- The doctor breached the duty of care by not acting in accordance with the reasonable standards of other doctors
- The patient suffered harm
- The harm was the result of the doctor’s breach of care
For example, if a doctor failed to diagnose a condition; performed a procedure improperly or negligently; did not warn a patient of the risks associated with a procedure; and the patient suffered harm, that doctor could be held liable for malpractice.
If you have suffered harm, or a loved one died following a medical procedure, you may be able to recover damages. Contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can advise you of your legal rights, and will fight for the compensation you deserve. Call the Law Office of Georgaklis & Mallas PLLC at (718) 238-2400 or (212) 779-2400.