KVUE news recently covered the risks of pediatric procedures after the death of 14-month-old Daisy Lynn Torres. Daisy’s family took her to the Austin Children’s Dentistry in North Austin for some work on her cavities. General anesthetic was used, and soon Daisy lost consciousness. She was pronounced dead shortly after she was rushed to the hospital.
What can go wrong during a pediatric procedure?
Regardless of the procedure, there are risks and complications that can occur. The severity of the risk or complication depends on the type of surgery. For example, if a child undergoes an adenoidectomy (a procedure that removes the adenoids), he/she is at risk of bleeding, infection, or will need another more aggressive surgery. Also, obese patients and patients with heart, lung, or liver problems are at greater risk for surgical complications.
It is also highly suggested that the parents should tell the surgeon, doctor, or whoever will be performing the procedure everything about that child. Notify the doctor if your child has asthma, allergies, or a family history of difficulty with the scheduled operation. Also, parents should use their instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy about the doctor or setting, get a second opinion. Also ask if the procedure is 100% necessary. Some procedures are discretionary.
What questions should parents ask before a child’s surgery?
Parents are as important in pediatric surgeries as the child. Therefore, there are several questions parents should ask before the child goes into surgery:
- Are parents allowed in the pre-op or operating room?
- Can my child eat before surgery?
- How long will my child need to be in the hospital?
- How will my child’s pain be managed?
- Will there be any side effects?
- After my child is sent home, will any special precautions be needed?
- When can my child eat and drink after the surgery?
- What medications will my child need?
- When will my child be fully recovered?
- If my child as a cold, should I cancel?
How to know if something has gone wrong
After your child has left the hospital or dental office and is out of sedation, keep an eye on him/her. Have another adult with you while you drive so they can watch the child for very slow breathing or if the child’s airway gets blocked. If a child is falling asleep or has very slow breathing, your child may still be sedated.
What about taking legal action?
Attorney Chris Cagle provided insight during an interview from the law’s perspective. He stated that families in these types of situation have a limited number of options. Mr. Cagle then elaborated, stating: “It’s hard to find a lawyer that will be willing to spend the thousands and thousands of dollars it may require to effectively prosecute such a case. And that is a direct result of the caps of damages being so low.” Specifically, the damage cap for medical malpractice and wrongful death in Texas is at $500,000. Sometimes, the cap is at $250,000. Furthermore, many families choose to settle their cases quickly rather than take it to court because of the high costs involved.
If you or a loved one has experienced medical malpractice or wrongful death, do not hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm for a free consultation.