The actions of a dental surgeon in Edina, Minnesota, during a routine wisdom teeth operation is blamed for the death of a teen, whose family has filed a lawsuit this week at the Hennepin County District Court.
Dr. Paul Tompach, who continues to see his patients under state licensing board restrictions, is facing allegations of medical malpractice over the death of young girl Sydney Galleger back in June 2015.
The allegations made in the lawsuit are aligned with findings from the state’s Board of Dentistry probe that placed him under the restrictions beginning March last year.
Change Of Heart
The dentist, whom the Eden Prairie-based Galleger family got to know through his wife, is accused of missteps such as incorrectly administering general anesthesia, as well as failing to properly monitor during the dental surgery.
“No, I don’t see anything like that,” Sydney’s mother Diane told Star Tribune three months after her daughter’s death, referring to any possibility of suing the dentist.
Now a change of heart has happened, and their lawyer said the family would not be granting further interviews. The suit appears to seek more than $50,000, but leaves the door open for a much higher amount should the court favor the family or the two parties agree to settle.
Tompach had his license temporarily suspended in January 2016 by the state board, but at present he continues to practice under several conditions, including not administering sedation or general anesthesia. He is allowed to have a qualified practitioner carry out such actions at his practice.
In 2014, teen Benjamin LaMontagne succumbed to rare and aggressive bacterial infection called cervical necrotizing fasciitis days after his wisdom tooth removal. The infection resulted from a potent kind of streptococcus bacteria, known to be flesh-eating and attacking skin, muscles, and fat before leading to toxic shock and organ failure.
Dentists and oral surgeons are urged to follow strict protocols to limit infection, including the use of sterilized instruments and wearing protective gear such as masks and gloves.
Is There Wisdom In Taking The Tooth Out?
According to the Cleveland Clinic blog, wisdom teeth can still erupt even during early adulthood. One can know that wisdom teeth are causing a problem when there is pain in the upper or lower jaw, a sensation of pressure in the back of the mouth, and sensitive, swollen, and inflamed gum tissue surrounding the erupting wisdom tooth.
“A lot of folks don’t have any symptoms,” warned Dr. Michael Horan. “That’s why you should have your wisdom teeth examined by a dentist to determine if extraction is appropriate.”
Wisdom teeth are impacted, so removal is often done to maintain oral hygiene. But even wisdom teeth that emerge correctly can pose problems eventually because they remain so far back inside the mouth and are difficult to clean.
In the event one keeps them, he or she should brush and floss well, as well as see the dentist regularly.
After extraction, issues may include pain, dry socket, a pus pocket developing, and bacterial infections. The latter are rare and occur in fewer than 6 percent of cases, and the dentist will usually just provide antibiotics before the procedure to avoid infection.