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Family says dentist caused little girl's brain injury

When a person is about to undergo surgery, how they will be affected by anesthesia is often a concern. However, few people consider that being "put under" at a dentist's office could cause them harm. In fact, it might be difficult for Illinois readers to correlate a visit to the dentist with a brain injury.

The thought might never have crossed the minds of the parents of a 4-year-old girl who needed to have some decaying teeth worked on by a dentist in their area. The dentist anesthetized the girl, and soon after, she began suffering seizures. The dentist administered Halcion, which is an oral medication. For some reason, however, he did not call for emergency medical assistance. In fact, records indicate that it took hours for the dentist to contact emergency personnel, and his license has since been temporarily suspended.

As for the Texas girl, the delay in proper medical care is being blamed for the severe brain injury she suffered. She is unable to walk, talk or feed herself. She had to have a feeding tube inserted to ensure that she receive proper nutrition. She has spent the majority of her days in hospitals and rehabilitation centers since the incident occurred on Jan. 7. There is no guarantee that she will ever lead a normal life.

The extent of the girl's brain injury will most likely require her to need medical treatment and other assistance for the rest of her life. As many families here in Illinois would do, the family is preparing to litigate a medical malpractice claim against the dentist. If negligence on the part of the dentist is proved to the court's satisfaction, the family could be awarded damages that could help with her current and future needs.

Source: ABC News, "4-Year-Old Girl Suffers 'Severe Brain Injury' at Dentist's Office, Documents Say", Avianne Tan, March 12, 2016

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Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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