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Anesthesia Brain Injury

Many people in Ontario opt for heavy sedation while having dental work done. When they do so, they are placing enormous trust in their practitioner. While unconscious, a patient cannot ask for help and must rely on the professionals to ensure their well-being. Unfortunately, sometimes things can go catastrophically wrong, such as in the cases of two young girls who ended up with brain injuries after visiting their dentists.

In September 2016, a 4-year-old girl went to her dentist with her parents for a routine procedure. The dentist administered a general anesthetic and then set about performing the dental work. While under the anesthetic, the girl fell into a coma. She has been hospitalized ever since and has only recently begun to open her eyes. An MRI revealed she had suffered a brain injury, though the extent of the injury is not yet clear.

In a separate incident, a young woman undergoing a wisdom tooth extraction in 2012 was under deep sedation administered by an oral surgeon. Though the young woman was showing signs of cardiac distress, the surgeon continued with the procedure. She, too, suffered brain damage from the incident.

The use of general anesthesia by dentists in Ontario is not subject to the same regulations as it is when employed in a hospital. While a surgeon in an operating room must have an anesthesiologist present to administer sedation, a dentist may both sedate the patient and perform the procedure. Likewise, while a CO2 monitor is required for monitoring patients’ breathing during a hospital surgery, that equipment is not mandated for a dentist’s office.

While the use of anesthesia during dental procedures is generally acknowledged to be safe, there is always a risk of complications when heavy sedation is used. For the families of people who have suffered brain injuries stemming from any kind of medical mishap, fighting for justice and compensation can be difficult. The assistance of a personal injury lawyer with experience in Ontario malpractice suits may be very helpful in such cases.

Source: globalnews.ca, “Dental sedation expert “frustrated beyond imagination” over anesthesia rules“, Fletcher Kent, Oct. 28, 2016

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