The parents of a teenage girl who died earlier this year during wisdom tooth surgery are suing the oral surgeon and anesthetist for medical malpractice.
Back in April, Jenny Olenick, 17, from Maryland, went in for the surgery – a routine operation which is performed on nearly five million Americans a year – and died from complications during the procedure.
An investigation by the state’s chief medical examiner later ruled the cause of Olenick’s death to be hypoxia — oxygen deprivation while she was anesthetized.
According to the civil suit, which was filed November 30 in Howard County Circuit Court, anesthesiologist Krista Michelle Isaacs, MD, and Domenick Coletti, DDS, MD, were negligent and failed to resuscitate Olenick after the teen’s heart rate and blood oxygen level dropped.
“Something should have been done at the first sign of the emergency happening. If they hadn’t waited so long, Jenny would still be here,” Nicole Cunha, a family friend who also servces as the executive director of the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation – a non-profit group dedicated to protecting pediatric dental patients – told ABC.
Olenick’s parents called their daughter’s death “needless” and said they hope to raise awareness of dental-related deaths nationwide.
“I am trying to make people aware that a routine visit to the dentist or an oral surgeon can turn out anything but routine,” she said.
Despite the seemingly rarity of a death resulting from wisdom tooth surgery, Jenny Olenick’s case isn’t the only of its kind.
Another teen, 14-year-old Ben Ellis of Gilmer County, Ga., was found dead in his bed Dec. 8 after undergoing wisdom tooth surgery the day before.
Local authorities are still investigating the cause of death in that incident.