The Dental Board of Minnesota has temporarily suspended a dentist's license nearly a year after a female teenager died while having her wisdom teeth removed. Citing "imminent risk of harm" for failing to properly manage a medical emergency, the Minnesota Board of Dentistry suspended the license of Dr Paul Tompach of the Edina Oral and Maxillofacial on 22 February.
According to the suspension document, Tompach "failed to provide appropriate oral surgery care". The victim, 17-year-old Sydney Galleger, had walked into Tompach's practice on 9 June to have her four wisdom teeth removed. Galleger started convulsing during the procedure and was rushed to a hospital after going into cardiac arrest.
Despite Tompach's attempt to resuscitate the teenager with CPR, he had to eventually call 911. Galleger was pronounced dead on 15 June. The cause of her death was determined to be anoxic encephalopathy, or the lack of oxygen to the brain, confirmed the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
Citing his surprise at the delay in suspending the doctor's license, the victim's father Steve Galleger said: "This is all new to us." Investigations have revealed that Tompach had a dental assistant on site who was not qualified to adequately give patients anaesthesia. Bridgett Anderson, the Minnesota Board of Dentistry's executive director, said the dental assistant neither had the state-required course work nor certification.
According to an article published in the American Public Health Association, nearly 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted from five million people in the US each year. Over 11,000 people, "suffer from permanent paresthesia — numbness of the lip, tongue, and cheek— as a consequence of nerve injury during the surgery."