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Teenager dies of sepsis 4 days after dental surgery

Teenager dies of sepsis 4 days after dental surgery

The estate of a 17-year-old Chicago-area male who died seven days after undergoing root canal surgery at a local dental office has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that owns the office and the dentist who performed the procedure. The medical malpractice lawsuit makes a number of disturbing accusations about the dentist’s conduct during the procedure, which allegedly caused the teenager to develop the extremely rare toxic infection that took his life.

In 2011, the victim went to the Blue Island location of Dental Dreams, a chain of dentist’s offices, because he had lost a filling. The defendant dentist, who has been licensed to perform dentistry in Illinois since 2010, decided to perform root canal surgery to correct the problem.

According to the lawsuit, the dentist made several serious errors that led to the victim developing sepsis, a serious infection. For example, the dentist did not use a dental dam or other device to keep the surgical error sterile. She also allegedly used improperly sized equipment, failed to drain and seal the affected tooth, and removed the entire pulp of the tooth instead of just the infected tissue.

The teenager became ill four days after the surgery. His condition worsened and he was rushed to the hospital three days after that, where he passed away.

Another dentist and root canal expert from the University of Illinois at Chicago said that sepsis infection from root canal surgery is very rare. “It happens maybe once every 50 years,” he said. This seems to suggest that the level of medical malpractice in this case must have been unusually high.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Suit filed over Blue Island teen’s death after root canal,” Nov. 21, 2012

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