In 2017, a four-year-old boy from Vancouver, WA passed away due to complications that arose during a dental procedure. The child visited a pediatric dentist for what was initially considered a routine check-up. The dental team advised a repair to a previous treatment the child had undergone. Unfortunately, the procedure did not go as planned.
During the visit, the child was sedated by a professional anesthesiologist. After the procedure, he was moved to the waiting room where he remained unconscious for an extended period. Concerned, his mother questioned the medical team. It was then revealed by the anesthesiologist that the child had been administered a higher dosage of anesthetic than intended. Shortly after, the child stopped breathing and was immediately taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The child’s mother revealed that he had no existing health issues that could have contributed to this tragic outcome. The dental clinic where the child was treated was unexpectedly closed following the incident.
The dental clinic emphasized that they have successfully conducted over 1,900 pediatric procedures involving deep sedation and general anesthesia without any previous incidents. They also indicated that they adhere to rigorous protocols, including pre-operative medical clearances from a child’s primary physician.
The Washington State Department of Health acknowledged receiving a formal complaint about this distressing event, which was referred to the state medical commission for further assessment.
What to Do After a Child Dies from Anesthesia Given at a Dental Office
The loss of a child due to a medical error during a routine dental procedure is a tragedy beyond words. The ensuing emotional turmoil and grief can be overwhelming, making it difficult to focus on legal actions that need to be taken. If you are navigating such a harrowing experience, consulting with a Florida dental malpractice attorney can help you understand your rights and options.
Initial Steps to Take
Seek Immediate Medical Documentation
As soon as possible, request all medical records pertaining to the dental procedure. These records can provide important evidence if you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Ensure that you also obtain the autopsy results if possible, as well as any other relevant medical documentation.
While it is understandably difficult to maintain focus during such a traumatic time, it's crucial to keep a record of all events, conversations, and observations that could be relevant to the case. This could prove invaluable later.
Consulting a Florida Dental Malpractice Attorney
Why Consult an Attorney?
Engaging with a Florida dental malpractice attorney can help you navigate the complex legal avenues that may arise after such a tragedy. Dental malpractice lawyers specialize in handling cases where dental negligence leads to serious injury or death. Our attorneys can guide you through the difficult process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida.
What to Expect from the Legal Process
Once engaged, your Florida dental malpractice attorney will conduct a thorough investigation, potentially working with medical experts to establish negligence on the part of the dentist, dental office, or other responsible medical providers. This can be an involved process, and it is critical to have aggressive legal representation to protect your interests.
Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Florida
Florida law allows the parents or legal guardians of a minor to file a wrongful death lawsuit if they believe that their child's death was the result of negligence, malpractice, or any other wrongful act.
In Florida, compensation in wrongful death cases can include medical and funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering, among other damages. Your Florida dental malpractice attorney can provide more details on what you may be entitled to claim.
Statute of Limitations
It is important to act quickly as Florida law imposes a two-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Failure to file within this timeframe could forfeit your right to any legal remedy.
Coping and Community Support
The legal process can be emotionally taxing on top of the immense grief you are already going through. Mental health support and community resources can be invaluable during this difficult time. Support groups for bereaved parents can offer some emotional relief and advice on coping with loss.
Losing a child is devastating, and the added complexity of a wrongful death lawsuit can make it an overwhelmingly difficult time for any family. If you are facing such a tragedy, seeking guidance from a Florida dental malpractice attorney can provide you with the legal support and advice you need during this challenging period.Rest assured that pursuing a wrongful death claim is the right thing to do. If left unchecked, careless or reckless dentists could go on to injure or kill someone else. Although we can’t put these people in jail, we can do everything we can to hold them financially responsible for your loss and make them pay for the harm they’ve caused.