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Death During Routine Surgery Leads to Medical Malpractice Claim

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that almost 70 percent of people develop wisdom teeth that may need to be removed. Wisdom tooth extraction is an extremely common form of surgery, and occurs every day across the country.

Nevertheless, an oral surgeon is now facing a medical malpractice lawsuit after a 17 year-old girl died during surgery to have her wisdom teeth removed, reported MSNBC. Within 15 minutes of starting the procedure, paramedics were called to the scene. Autopsy reports show that the girl suffered “hypoxia while under anesthesia for a tooth extraction.” Essentially, she was deprived of oxygen to the point at which her brain was severely damaged. She died ten days later.

Although the girl’s death has been ruled an accident, the doctor may still be legally responsible. Said MSNBC, in some cases when patients are under anesthesia, the patient’s heart rate can slow, and, as a result, the patient’s body gets less and less oxygen if doctors aren’t able to get the patient’s heart back up to normal speed. While the girl was under her doctor’s care, it was the doctor’s responsibility to ensure that her vital signs were monitored and that an adequate plan was in place to prevent emergencies like this one.

According to the American Association for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the risk of death or brain injury in patients undergoing anesthesia during oral surgery is 1 out of 365,000; but tragedies like this can and do arise.

Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits arise when people are injured by careless or intentional acts on the part of a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other healthcare provider. Healthcare professionals owe a duty of care to their patients, and when that duty is breached – such as in situations where the provider fails to diagnose an illness – the failure is said to be a “tort,” or civil wrong, which can provide the basis for a lawsuit. As a result, the healthcare professional or institution may be made to pay damages to put the injured person back in the position he or she was in prior to being injured.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers understand that cases of negligent care are as dangerous as any other kind of medical malpractice. When doctors and other healthcare professionals fail to monitor a patient’s vital signs as a result of either carelessness or failing to conduct the appropriate tests, those health professionals may be liable for injuries that occur as a result of their failures to act.

If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of negligence on the part of a healthcare provider, contact an attorney immediately to better understand your rights under the law.