Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Dentistry and Death: More Laws or More Education?

By Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Editor’s Note: Last week, we asked whether the use of birth control is a patient safety risk because of possible development of blood clots. In this post, the question is – do we need more laws or more education to help prevent anesthesia-related deaths in dental procedures and oral surgery.

Most people would not associate dentistry with death – discomfort perhaps – but not death.

However, the death of Caleb Sears forces us to consider the possibility of death in dentistry – or, more accurately, oral surgery:

Caleb Sears was a healthy six-year-old living in the Bay Area. He was in his first year of elementary school and just starting to read and write. He loved playing with his little sister, climbing trees, singing Les Miserables, and making up funny stories about llamas and time machines. Read More

Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Children at Heightened Risk of Respiratory Compromise

by Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

According to the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia, many different types of procedures may require a patient who is a child to stay still or may cause them discomfort if no anesthesia is used. For example, procedures such as MRI scans require the child to be completely still to ensure adequate quality of the scans. This is an addition to anesthesia used in surgery and common procedures, such as for fracture reduction, laceration repair, and incision and drainage of an abscess.

However, despite the widespread use of anesthesia in children, Gaspard Montandon, PhD (Parker B. Francis Fellow, Department of Physiology and Medicine, University of Toronto) says: Read More

Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Wisdom Teeth Extraction and Patient Death: 17 Year-Old Sydney Galleger

by Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

According to the American Dental Association, each year about five million people have ten million wisdom teeth extracted in the United States. Usually administered under a local anesthetic and sometimes under a general anesthetic, teeth extraction is generally considered routine and simple. Read More