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Fatal Wisdom Tooth Extraction Raises Dental Malpractice Questions

April 06, 2013

Our posting of two articles on this Georgia personal injury blog on the issue of dental malpractice within a matter of days is somewhat unprecedented, but so is the death of an apparently healthy young man during a routine wisdom tooth extraction. This incident has been widely reported in the national media as the family of a 24-year-old man is considering a wrongful death lawsuit after he died following removal of his wisdom teeth last month.

According to a report by NBC News, the dental patient suffered cardiac arrest while his wisdom teeth were being extracted by an oral surgeon at a Southern California dental office. As the attorney for the dentist has indicated, “no surgical procedure is without risks.” However, fatal oral surgeries are rare and not the type of risk that most dental patients consider when undergoing surgery to have a tooth removed from their mouth.

The dentist’s attorney also indicated, “The circumstances regarding Mr. Lapinski’s complications are not completely understood. What is understood is that Mr. Lapinski’s complications occurred despite the fact there were no apparent contraindications for his oral surgery, routine anesthetic medications were being used for the procedure, and immediate measures were undertaken to revive the patient as soon as the patient began to decompensate.”

The report provided by first responders allegedly indicated that the oral surgeon indicated the patient began to wake up during the medical procedure. The dentist then gave his oral surgery patient propofol, which is the anesthetic that was involved in the death of Michael Jackson. The first responder report also indicated that the patient had surgical gauze and a small surgical cone lodged in his airway that they were unable to extract.

Our prayers and condolences go out to this family, which has lost their loved one at such a young age. While there are still plenty of questions about the incident, this tragedy serves as a reminder that malpractice may potentially occur during a routine medical procedure and cause life-altering consequences. There are always significant risks associated with anesthesia so medical professional undertaking surgical procedures have a legal obligation to be vigilant. Medical malpractice insurers will diligently defend such claims so it is important to retain legal representation promptly so that an investigation and review of medical records can be conducted if you suspect your loved one’s injury or death was the result of medical negligence.

Our Atlanta dental malpractice attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to victims of substandard medical care throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast.

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For over 39 years, the experienced lawyers from Montlick & Associates have been helping families in Georgia and throughout the Southeast get the compensation and benefits they deserve after sustaining a personal injury or death. Montlick & Associates concentrates its practice on personal injury law, providing caring and high quality legal representation. In addition to its goal of being the best personal injury law firm in Georgia, Montlick & Associates is also dedicated to giving back to the community through the firm’s extensive public service programs.

The firm was recently honored by the Georgia House of Representatives for its 30 years of service, with the passing of House Resolution 394, recognizing Montlick & Associates for "the outstanding accomplishments of this distinguished firm," and “for providing efficient, effective and dedicated services to the citizens of Georgia.” To learn more about the firm’s award-winning public service programs, please visit

The Georgia dental malpractice attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout Georgia, including rural areas in the state and across the Southeast. No matter where you are located, the attorneys at Montlick & Associates are just a phone call away, and will even come to you. Call 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit online at and use the firm’s Free 24-hour Live Online Chat or Free Case Evaluation Form.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.