How Did This Austin Toddler Die at the Dentist?

Photo of childIn an earlier blog post, we wrote about a 4-year-old who visited her local dentist in Houston and lost her life in an unimaginable way at a routine dentist visit. And just last week, a second child’s life has been lost while at a Texas dentist office. Except this time, the dentist was located in Austin.

When a 26-year-old mother brought her 14-month-old daughter to Austin Children’s Dentistry to get two cavities filled, the procedure was estimated to take 45 minutes or so. The dentist described it as a fairly simple procedure, but they would need to put the toddler under anesthesia in order to perform it. Both the dentist and anesthesiologist were present during the procedure, according to a spokesperson for Austin Children’s Dentistry.

Shortly after the allotted time, the dentist who was performing the procedure came out and said more extensive work needed to be performed on the toddler. The child’s mother consented to any additional dental work needed. However, not 10 minutes later, the dentist came back out and told the mother something went wrong. The child went into cardiac arrest and needed CPR. EMS arrived shortly after to move the child to a hospital, where she would die that day.

Dental Malpractice Often Goes Unreported

Unfortunately, one of the most underreported types of medical malpractice is dentistry, which is especially disturbing in pediatric cases. It’s possible that any fears of going to the dentist stem from negative childhood experiences. Dental malpractice can occur in the following types of cases:

  • When dentists use excessive force on children, which can include not acknowledging when children say they are experiencing pain
  • When a dentist performs unnecessary procedures, which can include extracting healthy teeth or other painful procedures
  • Not using enough anesthesia for particularly painful procedures
  • Administering anesthesia unnecessarily in order to increase the dental bill

Anesthesia is one of the bigger issues in dental malpractice. Giving too little puts patients in extreme pain, while giving too much can lead to nausea or, in more extreme cases, brain damage from lack of oxygen. Calculating the right amount of anesthesia to use is particularly difficult with younger children, who usually require smaller amounts. It is possible a child may vomit into the anesthesia mask and choke to death.

If Your Child is a Victim of Dental Malpractice, Contact an Attorney Immediately

When these parents took their perfectly healthy and happy children to the dentists for minor procedures, they never imagined they would lose their children by the end of it. Though dentists are medical professionals, not all dentists give the quality of care you would come to expect from other medical practitioners. If your child is a victim of pediatric medical malpractice, it is important you contact an attorney immediately to assess your rights in the situation.

Aaron Allison is a personal injury attorney that fights for victims of medical malpractice in Austin, Texas.



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One Response to How Did This Austin Toddler Die at the Dentist?

  1. It is sad that two cases happened back-to-back in such a small amount of time. Like you said, most people do not think of the words ‘medical malpractice’ when going to the dentist. The poor parents may have had no idea this could happen. Medical professionals need to exercise more caution when using anesthesia on children so these tragedies can be avoided.

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