Minnesota Dentist's License Suspended After Wisdom Tooth Extraction Patient Dies

A Minnesota dentist is facing disciplinary action after regulators say he allowed an unqualified assistant to monitor a patient under anesthesia for a wisdom tooth extraction. The patient died following a cardiac arrest that occurred during the surgery.

A Minnesota dentist had his license suspended after his teenage patient died last June during a wisdom teeth extraction procedure.

The Minnesota Board of Dentistry cited “imminent risk of harm” in its decision against Paul Tompach, DDS, PhD, of Edina Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

The board’s preliminary investigation found that Tompach “Failed to provide appropriate oral surgery care when extracting four wisdom teeth from a patient, failed to appropriately manage a medical emergency, and enabled allied medical personnel (i.e., an unlicensed dental assistant, licensed dental assistant, and student intern) to perform tasks which exceeded the legal scope of practice.”

According to a report in the Star-Tribune, the board’s executive director, Bridgett Anderson, said Tompach allegedly allowed a dental assistant who lacked the state-required course work and certification to monitor Sydney Galleger — the 17-year-old patient – as she received anesthesia.

Galleger reportedly went into convulsions during the surgery and was rushed to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, where she died June 15.

In September 2015, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner stated Galleger died from “anoxic encephalopathy,” or brain damage from a lack of oxygen triggered from cardiac arrest that occurred during the June dental surgery.

During Tompach’s temporary suspension, he is not allowed to practice as a dentist in the state.

License suspensions against Minnesota dentists are fairly uncommon. According to the order, Tompach’s contested hearing was to be scheduled no later than 30 days after the order was issued on Jan 29. The Star-Tribune reported that Tompach had reached an agreement with regulators, though Anderson did not elaborate on the agreement since it had not yet been finalized.

The suspension period will remain in effect until the board comes to a final agreement.