Physicians are required to obtain the informed consent of a patient or the patient’s guardian prior to any invasive medical procedure. The consent provides written proof that a physician explained all potential risks involved with a proposed procedure. Failure to adequately inform a patient and/or guardian of the known risks typically constitutes medical malpractice. Massachusetts parents will surely be sad to learn that one family’s young son died after a dental procedure that did not go as planned, and the parents claim that they were not provided adequate informed consent.
According to the 80-page legal complaint, the 2-year-old boy was seen by a children’s dental office twice prior to a dental procedure. Pulpotomies, also known as baby root canals, involve placing dental crowns placed over affected teeth. The procedure requires sedation for young children by an anesthesiologist.
The parents claim they were never given adequate consent, and the form that should have documented consent was neither properly witnessed or signed by a dentist. In addition, the family alleges that their son was left alone to recover from his sedation, but he was not provided a properly functioning oxygen tank. Furthermore, it is claimed that one of the office workers silenced an alarm that was monitoring the boy’s oxygen levels. The Dental Board of Examiners has placed full blame on the anesthesiologist, and his anesthesia permit is now on probation.
The family is understandably devastated. In cases such as this one, lawsuits often serve a purpose to seek justice and answers for tragic circumstances. For many, a lawsuit may also end with a settlement or court-ordered compensation for financial loss. Massachusetts medical malpractice attorneys understand that compensation cannot replace the life of a deceased loved one, but they can explain how compensation can assist with financial burdens that may have resulted from a tragedy.