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Man Dies While Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed

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By Andrew Lu on April 04, 2013 10:25 AM

A San Diego man died while getting his wisdom teeth removed. His family alleges medical malpractice.

Getting your wisdom teeth removed may be one of the most common types of surgery. After all, almost everyone will have their wisdom teeth removed at some point.

However, tragedy hit 25-year-old Marek Lapinski. As he was undergoing the routine procedure in March, he reportedly began to cough. Medical personnel gave him the drug propofol, and Lapinski then went into cardiac arrest, reports the Los Angeles Times.

An autopsy is still pending on the young man and it is not certain what caused him to die while getting his wisdom teeth removed.

Family members say that he had no health issues, and an ambulance report indicated that paramedics found a piece of gauze in his airway, reports the Times. Others speculate that Lapinski may have been given too much anesthesia and perhaps was not properly monitored.

As Lapinski's family awaits the results of the autopsy, it is likely that they will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the oral surgeon claiming medical malpractice.

Generally, to prove medical malpractice, the family of the victim will have to show that the oral surgeon was negligent. This can include any careless act like giving the wrong drug to a patient, not monitoring a patient, not checking for any allergies, and even leaving a piece of gauze in a patient's airway.

Typically, to determine negligence, a court will look at generally accepted standards of care in that field. In this case, experts may need to testify about the procedures that oral surgeons take when removing wisdom teeth and whether those who performed the surgery on Lapinski met those standards of care.

Given the fact that hundreds of people may be getting their wisdom teeth removed every day, the surgery certainly seems routine and "low-risk." However, there is always risk when someone undergoes surgery, and sometimes a death may simply be a freak accident where no one is to blame.

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