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Florida Dentist Faces Possible License Loss After Patient Death


No mother takes her child to the dentist thinking that he or she will die due to a dental procedure. Most dental procedures are fairly simple and result in no side effects. So when a child dies while under anesthesia, parents are left with questions.

How and why did this happen? Is the dentist to blame? If so, can he or she face license suspension or other punishment?

A mother is asking lawmakers to focus on the risks of sedation dentistry after her 17-year-old son died after a dental procedure in April. The boy was sedated while he had several teeth removed in preparation for braces. The boy stopped breathing while under anesthesia and was put on life support at a local hospital. He died two days later.

What the mother did not know, however, was that the dentist was not qualified to perform sedation dentistry. He was not a licensed in anesthesia and had two previous complaints against him with the Florida Board of Dentistry.

The complaints were filed in 2001 and 2014. For the first complaint, the dentist’s punishment was 20 hours of community service, a fine and continuing education courses. For the second offense, the dentist was fined and reprimanded by the Board of Dentistry.

The dentist now faces license loss. In July, the Board of Dentistry filed an administrative complaint recommending that his license be revoked or suspended. A hearing is pending. In August, the boy’s family filed a wrongful death claim against the dentist.

The boy’s mother is also asking lawmakers to take a closer look at sedation dentistry and make the requirements stricter. She is recommended that all sedation dentistry procedures involve a nurse anesthetist or licensed anesthesiologist in the same room so that the patient can be monitored. If this requirement was in place, her son might still be alive today.

Elements of Wrongful Death

Wrongful death cases involve negligence or recklessness. Medical malpractice is a common cause of wrongful death. Those who lose a loved one to someone else’s negligence can file a lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit encompasses the following elements:

  • Third party negligence or reckless behavior must have led to your loved one’s death.
  • Breach of duty. The person must have owed a duty to your loved. For example, a doctor or dentist owes a duty to patients.
  • The person’s negligence must have caused your loved one’s death.
  • The negligence must have caused damages to your loved one in order for a valid claim to exist. Damages may include medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and pain and suffering.

Keep Your License with Help From a Tampa Dentistry License Lawyer

If you are in danger of losing your license, you need to take the proper steps to protect it or you could lose your career and income for good. Seek legal help right away from the Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. I am a Tampa administrative lawyer who focuses on licensing issues for dentists and other professionals. For a free consultation, contact my office today by calling (813) 968-6633.