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Boy Dies During Dental Work

Chris Russo Apr 29, 2010

Cedar Key, Florida.  A young boy died during a routine dental procedure performed by Dr. Ronnie Grundset.  The boy was five years old and died after being sedated for the procedure.  Relatives of the boy were not aware of any medical problems that the boy may have had.  Dr. Grundset has been a long time Gainesville area pediatric dentist.  Regardless of how the investigation turns out, the outcome of this case is a tragedy.  The parents of the boy had taken their other son to Dr. Grundset and underwent a procedure with the same medication, chloral hydrate, without incident.  The death remains under investigation and an autopsy report by the Alachua County Medical Examiner.  The staff performed heart compressions in an attempt to revive the boy.  An ambulance was called to scene to take the boy to Shands at the University of Florida.  After about 45 minutes, the doctor told them that nothing else could be done.  According to the article, one of the possible causes of death from sedation is anaphylactic shock.  Anaphylaxis is the body's natural allergic reaction to a drug.   This reaction can be the result of any drug, even an antibiotic, and can be fatal.  Notwithstanding, deaths are exceedingly rare.  Hundreds of thousands of sedatives are used in pediatric dentistry on an annual basis.  At this time, it is not clear why the boy was given chloral hydrate, but dentists frequently give that sedative to children to alleviate anxiety of the procedure.

This case may or may not be a case of medical malpractice.  Medical malpractice claims are difficult to prove and bring in the State of Florida.  In particular, the claimant must show that the medical provider fell below the generally accepted standard of care.  In other words, there has to be some element of wrong to the treatment provided rather than just a bad outcome, regardless of whether that bad outcome means serious permanent injury or death.  This case will very likely be investigated and answers to causation of this death may be in dispute.  If you or a loved one have questions regarding medical malpractice, please contact a personal injury attorney in the greater Central Florida area, including Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, Haines City, Davenport, or Polk County, Florida.  A consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys is free.  We also handle a select number of cases on a statewide basis.

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