The family of a 13-year-old Ohio girl who died during surgery nearly a year ago has reportedly settled a lawsuit they filed against the dentist who performed the operation. After an investigation confirmed that the girl stopped breathing due to complications from the anesthesia the dentist gave her, the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man, claiming he was responsible for the accident.
The Ohio State Dental Board helped negotiate the out-of-court settlement and approved it once it was finalized. An official with the organization explained that the board has a policy of either barring dentists shown to have unsafe practices or finding a way to ensure that they fix a problem. Accordingly, the board convinced the dentist to retire at the age of 81.
The dentist was the target of a wrongful death lawsuit once before in 1997 after a 57-year-old patient died due to anesthesia-related complications. That cased was eventually settled out of court for $550,000.
The more recent case saw a higher settlement amount, with the dentist's insurance company agreeing to pay the girl's family and their legal representative a sum of $1 million. The dentist at the center of the case was not able to be reached for comment on the settlement, but the Dental Board official explained that the incident shows how difficult it is for the organization to regulate dentistry on a wide scale. She explains that the board's biggest limitation is its inability to be absolutely certain that all practicing dentists are operating safely and should be allowed to hold a license.
Source: Fox 8 Cleveland, "Family of Girl Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Dentist," Jack Shea, Oct. 28, 2011