Kansas And Missouri Licensing Attorney Discuss Tragedy

A question of whether a boy should have received a second dose of sedative arose after a child passed away during a dental procedure. The child was only 4-years-old. According to Foxnews.com, the boy may have had autism. His mother indicated he was on the autism spectrum although it is unclear whether he was officially diagnosed with the disorder. The boy went to a dentist that has a practice restricted to handling difficult patients. The initial investigation reports suggest that the boy received an additional dose of a powerful sedative before the dental procedure. Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger has represented numerous dentists and other professionals under investigation for violations of ethical rules.

The four-year-old presented an interesting problem for the dentist: the boy simply refused to open his mouth for the procedure. Despite lesser intrusive techniques, the dentist decided that sedating him would give the dentist the best opportunity to complete the process. The dentist office employs a board certified anesthesiologist to assist with difficult patients. The sedatives help the children relax as well as be compliant and non-combative during the examination. Toward that end, the dentist’s office employs an anesthesiologist to administer the appropriate drug.

Office personnel went to talk to the boy’s mother when the procedure was over. The staff reported to the child’s mother that he was resting comfortably and that it was time to begin to rouse him. The boy did not wake, however. He was found unresponsive and not breathing. Staff immediately commenced CPR and called for an ambulance. The EMS quickly transported him to a local hospital, but it was too late. The child died.

The dentist’s office and practice group declined to comment on the situation specifically because it was under investigation by several authorities. They did comment that their office performed over 1,900 similar procedures over a three-year span without complication or complaint. Furthermore, the dental office stated that the anesthesiologist followed strict protocols and guidelines. To ensure safety, the dental staff consults with the patient’s treating physician to obtain permission to give the child a sedative as a critical component of its anesthesia protocols.

In the immediate aftermath of the boy’s death, the mother learned that the anesthesiologist gave him a second shot of sedative. The sedative used is a powerful drug called ketamine. The mother stated the doctor wanted to be certain the child would not wake up while the dentist was working on him. Had that happened, the dentist would not have been able to complete the procedure. Accordingly, the physician gave a second shot. The report was not clear whether the boy’s mother knew they were going to give him a second shot.

Properly obtaining informed consent is the obligation of every healthcare provider. This instance may present an issue of whether the appropriate informed consent was given by the child’s mother for the second shot a ketamine. This issue will be thoroughly vetted by any investigatory body looking into these events. Therefore, it is vital for every healthcare professional to be certain informed consent is properly given. The patient or their proxy must understand what will be administered and have the opportunity to ask questions about the process. There must be no surprises when it comes to getting consent to perform medical and dental procedures.

Even the most diligent and conscientious healthcare professionals make mistakes

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger understands that mistakes can and sometimes do happen. It is a part of life. That understanding may not prevent a state licensing board from undertaking an investigation for an ethics violation. If that happens, Attorney Sanger will fight to protect your livelihood and your personal life as well. Call 785-979-4353 today for a consultation.