Medical malpractice suit filed in wisdom tooth extraction death
The family of a 17-year-old woman who died while having her wisdom teeth extracted has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the oral surgeon and anesthesiologist who were performing the procedure. During the surgical procedure in April, something went terribly wrong. The young woman’s heart rate and blood oxygen level dropped.
The medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the surgeon and anesthesiologist were negligent and that they failed to resuscitate the patient after the signs of distress surfaced during the procedure. The young woman perished during the oral surgery. The chief medical examiner determined the cause of death to be hypoxia. The medical examiner says the woman died of oxygen deprivation while she was under anesthesia.
Sources estimate that roughly 5 million Americans undergo the routine wisdom tooth procedure each year. Complications can occur during any surgical procedure and pulling wisdom teeth is no exception. In December last year, a 14-year-old teen was found dead in Georgia a day after having his wisdom teeth pulled.
The most common complication from wisdom tooth extraction reportedly involves permanent nerve damage. More than 11,000 people suffer nerve damage each year while having their wisdom teeth pulled, according to the American Journal of Public Health. More serious complications, however, can include such issues as fractures of the jaw or teeth and brain tissue infections. Life-threatening issues, such as bleeding and hypoxia, can also occur during the procedure.
One dental consultant on the West Coast says “at least two-thirds” of the roughly 10 million wisdom teeth oral surgeons pull each year are unnecessary. The consultant wrote in the American Journal of Public Health that, “Third-molar surgery is a multibillion-dollar industry that generates significant income for the dental profession.”
The parents of the Maryland teen who died in April hope their medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit helps to highlight the risks of oral surgery involving wisdom tooth extraction and to highlight the need for better emergency training for oral health practitioners, according to a family spokesperson.