The DMD Check-Up: Suit Filed over Baby's Tragic Death at Dentist's Office

March 3, 2017
Joe Hannan

The parents of a 14-month-old girl who died while under anesthesia last year have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Austin, Texas-based dentist. The parents suspect they were tricked into agreeing to unnecessary dental work for their daughter, a local news station reports. Other industry stories that made national headlines this week include a celebrity dentist who was booted from a flight over an alleged joke about president Donald Trump, and more controversy over the dental therapist role.

The tragic death of a little girl has resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit against a Texas dentist. The 14-month-old died while under anesthesia in the dentist’s office, a local TV station reports. Debate around the role of dental therapists continues to swirl, this time in Minnesota. And another celebrity dentist made headlines this week, this time for allegedly getting kicked off a plane over a joke about president Donald Trump.

Parents File Suit over Baby’s Death at the Dentist’s Office

The parents of a 14-month-old girl who died while under anesthesia in a dentist’s office have filed a wrongful death suit against the dentist, the dentist’s office, the anesthesiologist, and an anesthesiology board.

Fox 7, an Austin, Texas-based TV station, reports that Daisy Lynn Torres went to Austin Children’s Dentistry in March 2016, where she underwent root canals on four baby teeth. She was placed under general anesthesia for the procedure, but never regained consciousness.

An autopsy later determined that Daisy died “of complications due to anesthesia,” Fox 7 reports.

Did greed lead to this toddler's death at the dentist? That's what the 14-month-old girl's family claims. https://t.co/v8TEyELG8S pic.twitter.com/kLzJdojJHY

— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) March 3, 2017

Torres’ parents were initially told that Daisy needed two cavities filled, but the dentist later told them that she needed four crowns, Fox 7 reports.

“(The dentist) was lying to me, trying to reassure me that everything was fine and it wasn’t. She had already gone into cardiac arrest at the dentist’s office,” Daisy’s mother, Betty Squire, said in Fox 7’s report.

Fox 7 reports that Squire believes the procedure was a product of Medicaid fraud. Squire said an autopsy report showed no signs of cavities.

A spokesperson for Austin Children’s Dentistry declined to comment in the report.

Celebrity Dentist Says Trump Joke got him Booted from Plane

Shawn Sadri, D.M.D., dentist to actor Aaron Paul and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, says a joke that he made about president Donald Trump got him kicked off a plane in Los Angeles earlier this week.

A celebrity dentist claims his anti-Trump joke led to his removal from a plane https://t.co/SDPiybA1aH

— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 3, 2017

The Iranian-born dentist, according to the Washington Post, saw a Spanish-speaking boy running down the jet’s aisle crying. A flight attendant, who was checking on the boy, overheard Sadri say that maybe the boy was upset about the prospect of Trump deporting him, the Washington Post reports.

The joke did not go over well with the flight attendant, and the two soon became involved in an argument that ended with Sadri being led off the plane, which was headed for New York.

The Washington Post reports that American Airlines issued a statement, saying that an unnamed passenger was taken from the plane “for being disruptive and not following crew member instructions.”

Sadri was rescheduled for a later New York flight that day, the Washington Post reports.

Dental Therapists in Demand in Minnesota

A report from News 18, a station based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, highlights another chapter in the debate over dental therapists.

The report details the plight of the rural community of Caledonia, Minnesota, where a local dentist has brought a dental therapist on board to meet the demand for dentistry.

Shortage of dentists in rural areas has dental therapists in high demand: https://t.co/r6qHJzuFpJ

— WQOW News 18 (@WQOW) March 1, 2017

Sarah Herman, D.D.S., tells News 18 that low reimbursement rates in Minnesota have prevented dentists from working in rural areas. The therapist, she says, enables her to meet that demand.

“Minnesota has the lowest reimbursement in the nation, and we collect about 27 percent on the dollar is what it is,” Herman tells News 18.

According to News 18, Minnesota was the first state to establish the dental therapist role in 2008. Currently, 11 states are considering allowing dental therapists to practice, including Michigan, Arkansas and North Dakota.

Got a news tip? See something you’d like to have included in the DMD Check-Up? Email Dentist’s Money Digest managing editor Joe Hannan: jhannan@dmdtoday.com

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