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Maryland teen dies after having wisdom teeth removed

The parents of a Maryland teenager who died after a wisdom teeth operation are suing the surgeon and anesthesiologist who performed the procedure for medical malpractice. Typically an hour and a half procedure, the parents received a phone call within 15 minutes that something had gone horribly wrong. Ten days of hospitalization later, their daughter was dead.

The parents allege that the surgeon and anesthesiologist who performed the procedure in March 2011 were negligent. The cause of death was ruled to be hypoxia, which is caused by oxygen deprivation while under anesthesia. The incident was ruled an accident.

Wisdom teeth removal is considered a routine procedure. The parents are still in shock that something like this could happen during such a common procedure. According to the American Association for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the risk of such an outcome in oral surgery is 1 out of 365,000.

Sadly, her death is the second reported hypoxia death related to a dental procedure in 2011. Another young teen died during oral surgery earlier in the year. Her death was also ruled an accident.

With all surgeries, it is important that those going under the knife understand and prepare themselves for the risks involved. While medical professionals are highly trained, mistakes can still occur during procedures that put the patient at serious risk of injury or even death.

In such unfortunate circumstances, a medical malpractice claim may be appropriate to ensure the patient obtains compensation for the extended effects of the surgical errors. For those who lose a loved one due to a doctor's errors, a wrongful death lawsuit may help provide at least some relief in the aftermath of a family member's death.

Source: TODAY Health, "Teen dies after 'routine' wisdom tooth surgery," Linda Carroll, April 6, 2012

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