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Dentist accused of causing 3-year-old patient’s death

A horrific case of a 3-year-old California boy’s death at the dentist’s office has led to a filing in the state Dental Board against the dentist. The board has filed a complaint with the California Attorney General’s office, accusing the dentist of causing the boy’s death through gross negligence, incompetence and unprofessional conduct.

The Tracy Press shares the sad details of this apparent case of medical malpractice. The boy went to the dentist’s office. He had several cavities and needed a cleaning. The dentist recommended to the boy’s parents that the child be sedated, and the parents consented.

According to the dental board’s complaint, the child was sedated shortly after 10 a.m., and the dentist began working on him at 10:30. The procedure took about four hours, at which point the still unconscious boy was moved to a recovery room.

He was still there two hours later, at 4:30, at which point his oxygen levels dropped. It is not clear what happened next, but an hour later, someone called 911. The boy was rushed to the hospital, and transferred to another hospital later that night.

He was unable to breathe on his own, and never recovered. Five days later, his parents removed life support.

The dental board accuses the dentist of failing to record that the boy twice vomited during the procedure, allowed the anesthetic to wear off mid-procedure and failed to keep track of the boy’s vital signs while in his care. The next step is to hold a hearing to determine whether to suspend or revoke the dentist’s license and levy a fine.

If the dental board’s allegations are true, the child’s parents lost the most [precious thing in their lives.

The civil law will give the parents little solace or comfort, protecting the negligent dentist with California’s 40 year old MICRA law which limits his total financial liability for the death of a child to $250,000 maximum.