The goal of a civil lawsuit is to make an injured party “whole.” Damages therefore seek to compensate one for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other things that were “lost” as a result of the negligence. But what happens when a party dies as a result of negligence? Obviously that party cannot be made whole–no amount of money can change anything. It would be perverse if negligence that caused a death somehow was less costly for the negligent party than an accident that just caused an injury. Fortunately, at these times surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit to receive compensation for their own losses.
These wrongful death lawsuits can arise in virtually any situation, from car accidents and slip and fall incidents to medical malpractice. For example, the Baltimore Sun recently reported on a settlement in a wrongful death guess following a passing connected to dental surgeon. The story is heartbreaking and a reminder that mistakes can prove fatal in even the most routine settings.
Wisdom Tooth Surgery Gone Wrong
Two year ago, the seventeen year old victim in this case went to have a procedure done that millions of similarly aged people have performed: she was getting her wisdom teeth out. While this operation is a real surgical procedure, it is performed so often that most assume it to be a routine matter that comes with little risk. Sadly, when proper care procedures are not followed every step of the way by involved medical providers, even wisdom tooth extractions can prove deadly.
In the middle of this young woman’s procedure, dental professionals eventually realized that something was wrong. The girl went into a coma, where she stayed for ten days before passing away. Later it was discovered that the girl’s brain did not receive enough oxygen while she was out during the surgery.
Obviously the girl’s family was devastated, as there is no way to prepare for the death of a child–let alone a death during a routine oral operation. In the aftermath of the passing, the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several involved parties, including the anesthesiologist, dental surgeon, and the medical business entities involved. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants were negligent in allowing the girl’s heart rate to drop and failing to revive here, all leading to the oxygen deprivation and the girl’s passing.
This week a settlement was finally reached in the matter. The terms of the settlement have not been released– confidentiality is often a component of many of these settlements. However, hopefully it ensures that accountability is had for this tragedy, at least in some small way.
The teen’s mother previously indicated that she hoped that this tragedy would raise awareness among all families about the dangers of dental procedures. Unfortunately, it often takes a shocking incident like this one for others to take to various risks into account. Our medical malpractice lawyers know that, just as with any other caregiver, it is helpful for families to ensure that their dental professionals are of high quality to ensure negligent harm is avoided. If you or someone you know suffered a similar injury in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, please get in touch with our office to see how we can help.
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