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Talking Points To Dentists About Pediatric Deaths

Posted on June 1, 2010

According to Health News Florida, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says that sedation for children in the dental chair is safe. But if curious consumers ask questions, the AAPD has also sent memos to its members telling them how to answer questions.

Those questions might arise after four deaths of children in the dental chair. Three deaths have occurred in Florida. In 2006, Dasia Washington, 10, from Pompano Beach made the headlines. Two dentists lost their careers. She had been given nitrous oxide, lidocaine, and epinephrine and was strapped to a board to keep her still. But Washington thrashed about. Her death was blamed by a lack of oxygen. She had asthma and head and facial deformities that caused her breathing problems. The dentists say they didn’t do anything wrong. More recently, Dylan Stewart of Cedar Key, 5 died in April and Cory Moore, 9, of Tampa died in February 2009 after sedation or anesthesia in the dental chair.

The memo provided by Health News Florida, says dentists are supposed to say: “The health, safety and welfare of children is a top priority…Our deepest condolences go out to the family … (and) Deaths due to sedation and/or anesthesia are extremely rare…”

Rare makes no difference when it’s your child. The professional Academy says that pediatric sedation is safe but can product complications if the drugs interact with other medications or if there are underlying medical conditions. There are no national statistics kept on pediatric dental chair deaths. Though thought to be very rare, nobody knows for sure. If you or a loved one has experienced an adverse event at the dentist (besides tooth pain) and sedation or anesthesia was used you will want to know if the practitioner was appropriately trained. Experienced Jacksonville medical malpractice attorneys conduct thorough investigations into serious injury and fatal medical professional errors to ensure that an injured victim’s rights are protected.