Why is This Houston Family Suing Their Local Dentist for Medical Malpractice?

iStock_000022194672_LargeEarlier this month, a 4-year-old visited her local dentist for her third visit and what was supposed to be a routine procedure to cap or remove tooth decay. The girl’s family expected her to be in and out by mid-morning, as is typical for this simple procedure.

However, her family was not prepared for the horrifying turn of events that would result in their child suffering from extensive brain damage and the necessity of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

A Trip to a Houston Dentist Causes Severe Brain Damage to a Child

While the girl’s parents were asked to stay in the waiting room, a report monitoring the child’s oxygen, pulse and blood pressure show the child was practically tortured while under sedation.

The report shows the dentist gave the child five sedatives over the course of more than seven hours, which was entirely unnecessary for such a short procedure. To make the situation deadlier, the dentist placed the child in a papoose, which is a controversial restraint device. A papoose used for surgery essentially resembles a cocoon that imprisons the child’s extremities from the neck down. Typically with papooses, there are two options. The first option is to heavily sedate a child and lightly restrain the extremities, with light straps on the chair to prevent any unconscious flailing or sudden movements. The second option is to lightly sedate the child, while using the papoose to physically restrain. However, the use of a papoose is banned in many countries due to the psychological trauma that can occur to children who are forced to use it.

This dentist used both heavy sedation and the papoose, which both physically and chemically suffocated this 4-year-old girl during her procedure. The girl’s vital signs were off the charts. Her heart rate drastically increased to compensate for the lack of oxygen, her blood pressure shot up and her oxygen saturation dropped into danger levels. Severe hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen to the body’s tissues (including the brain), occurs when the oxygen saturation is lower than 89 percent. The child’s oxygen saturation was 49 percent.

Unknown to the parents, this dentist had received reprimands and heavy fines from the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners at least two times prior to this incident.

Parents of Brain Damaged Child Want to Send a Message to Other Texas Families

In spite of this event, some dentists continue to defend the use of this restraining device under what they call “carefully-monitored” circumstances. However, the family of the child who was brain damaged due to this dentist’s negligence insist other clinics across Texas are over-treating children and using heavy restraints. The parents want to spread the word that children should never, under any circumstances, be restrained without a parent present. If a dentist is insisting otherwise, they recommend you seek treatment elsewhere.

Aaron Allison is a personal injury attorney who assists victims of medical malpractice in Austin, Texas.



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