Teenage girl dies during wisdom tooth procedure

A 17-year old girl underwent wisdom teeth surgery, went into a coma and then died 10 days later. It is believed that the young girl’s brain was deprived of oxygen at the time that the surgery was going on and this resulted in the teenager suffering from brain damage.

The girl’s mother has since filed a medical malpractice case against the anesthesiologist, the oral surgeon and the medical center where the operation took place. It is asserted in the complaint that medical personnel failed to revive the girl after her heart had dramatically slowed. Failure to respond ultimately resulted in the oxygen deprivation to the brain.

There are a number of difficulties in the representation of clients by attorneys in medical malpractice cases such as this one. Though the clients understandably are suffering from extreme emotional trauma as the result of the death of a loved one, attorneys still need to demonstrate that malpractice existed and caused the injury or death of the patient.

Defendants in this case are trying in part to blame the prior physical and mental condition of the girl for what occurred. Despite findings of the autopsy suggesting that we were dealing with an otherwise healthy teenage girl with “no significant medical history,” the defense attorney still attempted to pain the girl as someone suffering from anxiety and stress that supposedly contributed to her death. Such claims will need to be addressed by attorneys representing their clients when suing medical providers.

Brain injuries should not occur during any sort of surgery – especially one that involves a routine procedure such as a wisdom tooth extraction. These injuries can cause a lifetime of disability, suffering and in some cases death. Medical providers need to be held accountable.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Malpractice claim in teen’s wisdom teeth death settled out of court,” by Kevin Rector, April 3, 2013