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Family of Child Who Died During Routine Dental Procedure Files Lawsuit

— August 18, 2021

Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry in Wichita is at the center of a wrongful death lawsuit after a child died during a routine procedure.

A wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed against Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry (TTPD) in West Wichita by the family of a young boy who died during a dental procedure. The child was three-year-old Abiel Zapata Valenzuela. 

Healthcare Professionals; Image Courtesy of Pixabay,

According to the suit, the child visited the dentist’s office back on July 6, 2021, for a “routine dental procedure to address cavities.” According to medical records, the child “had no known lung or heart issues or drug allergies.” The family’s attorney, Brad Prochaska, said the suit names “Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry (TTPD), Dr. Scott White, Jeremy Salsbury, a licensed practicing certified registered nurse anesthetist and Special Anesthesia Services (SAS) as defendants.”

What happened, though? How did a child go into a routine dentist visit and end up passing away? According to the suit, it all began around 7:15 a.m. when the child was “was given Propofol and Ketamine administered by CRNA Salsbury.” During the administration of the anesthesia, Dr. White “documented that there was no appearance of hives, erythema, redness, etc. for signs of allergic reaction.” Just before 8 a.m., the CRNA administered another dose of propofol, then “alerted Dr. White of irregular heart rhythm and inadequate patient ventilation, as documented in the medical record,” the suit notes. At 8 a.m., the child had no pulse and 911 was called. CPR was also administered. By 8:03, an “endotracheal tube was placed emergently for ventilation by CRNA Salsbury” and CPR resumed. Tragically, those efforts failed to revive the otherwise healthy child.

EMS services arrived at 8:06 a.m. and CPR continued. The suit notes that EMS documented:

“This patient was receiving a dental procedure when it was noted that the patient became apneic, and had no pulse. CPR and EMS were initiated…The CRNA reports that swelling was noted to be present after administration of the lidocaine. Worried for airway compromise, the patient was then intubated by the CRNA.”

Prochaska further noted that “medical records show there was inadequate patient ventilation and a compromised airway meaning that Abiel couldn’t breathe and lead to his heart-stopping.” He also added that there are a lot of unknowns as to what happened, which is a big reason why the family filed the lawsuit. He stated:

“Everybody needs to be held accountable if they’re careless or negligent, be it a lawyer, a doctor, an airplane pilot, someone driving a car. We all need to be accountable for our negligence. Looking at the medical records, and having an expert I’ve retained review them there appears to be negligence, or we call it malpractice.”

At the moment, the family is seeking more than $75,000 from each defendant to cover funeral expenses, court costs, and compensatory and special damages.

When commenting on the suit, an attorney for the dentist office issued the following statement:

“We are disappointed that Mr. Prochaska has filed this lawsuit so prematurely. Many details spelled out in his filing are incomplete at best, and inaccurate at worst. Without the coroner’s final report, Mr. Prochaska can only speculate as to what occurred.”


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