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Medical malpractice lawsuit settled in fatal dental surgery case

When we discuss medical malpractice in this Michigan Personal Injury Law Blog, we most often reference cases in which a physician made a mistake that resulted in harm to a patient. In addition to physicians, a number of other medical professionals can also be held liable for medical malpractice.

In a case that was just settled out east, the parents of a teenager who died days after undergoing routine wisdom teeth surgery filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the oral surgeon, the anesthesiologist and the medical practices involved.

The case was settled outside of court, as is common for medical malpractice claims, so the terms have not been made public. Initially, the lawsuit included five counts of negligence and various medical failures, requesting at least $30,000 on each count.

This fatal incident took place in Maryland in 2011 when a 17-year-old suffered a brain injury during the wisdom teeth procedure. Following the surgery, she went into a coma and died 10 days later.

The autopsy showed that the cause of death was a lack of oxygen to her brain during the surgery.

The lawsuit claimed that the oral surgeon, anesthesiologist and medical practices involved in the surgery failed to revive the patient when her heart rate decreased to a dangerous level.

This is a very tragic case. It illustrates that routine procedures can still involve surgical errors, and those errors can be catastrophic. Medical professionals who fail to meet accepted standards of care are often held accountable with medical malpractice claims like these, not only so that survivors can obtain compensation, but also so that medical professionals will face their mistakes.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Malpractice claim in teen's wisdom teeth death settled out of court," Kevin Rector, April 3, 2013

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