KISSIMMEE, Fla. - An Osceola County judge denied two motions Monday to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a 17-year-old boy.
The lawsuit alleges the 17-year-old stopped breathing during a dental procedure at a dental office in Kissimmee last year.
Mark Glassman is the attorney representing the family of Christopher Power and said this case shows the extreme dangers of sedation dentistry.
“It is a dangerous way of providing medicine - particularly if you do not have the anesthesiologist on board,” said Glassman. “You need to know who is treating your kids. You need to know who is putting your child under sedation. These are important questions - it could save your child's life.”
Glassman said Christopher Power was taken to Kissimmee Family Dentistry to have eight teeth removed last April in order to get fitted for braces. He said the family had been getting their dental care at this office for years.
The lawsuit states Power's mother was told they had an oral surgeon on staff who could perform the extraction under sedation. But the lawsuit states Dr. Baxter, pictured here in his deposition, was not and is not a certified oral surgeon.
“There is a big difference between a dentist and an oral surgeon,” said Glassman. “When you are doing it just with the dentist and an assistant in the room without anyone who is trained in anesthesia, truly trained in anesthesia by schooling, it can become dangerous - and that's what we have here. In this scenario, you are having one person wear two hats. You're having the dentist be the surgeon - and you're having him be the anesthesia monitor as well. That's the problem.”
The lawsuit states that both the staff and paramedics did what they could to try to revive Christopher, but that he was declared brain dead at the hospital. He died two days later, after his parents had to make the difficult decision to take him off life support. His mother was in the waiting room when her son stopped breathing.
“The last time she spoke with her son was when she dropped him off and left him in the hands of the dentist. He never regained consciousness,” said Glassman. “They found no illicit drugs in his system. They found no anatomic abnormalities that would suggest a death. In fact, the cause of death was lack of oxygen due to the sedation.”
In a phone interview, Dr. Baxter, pictured here in his deposition this year, confirmed to News 6 that he is a licensed dentist in Florida and does perform oral surgery. He also said, "I believed I did everything right - and he died anyway."
Baxter then referred all questions to his attorney, who did not respond to multiple calls for comment.
We checked, and back in July of this year, the Florida Board of Dentistry did file this administrative complaint against Baxter - asking for his license to be suspended and revoked. News 6 also called Kissimmee Family Dentistry; the office referred us to their attorneys, who told us they had no comment.
To check if your dentist or doctor has been disciplined, go to the Florida Board of Medicine's website.
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