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“The parents of a Maryland teen who died earlier this year during wisdom tooth surgery have sued the oral surgeon and the anesthetist for medical malpractice. Jenny Olenick, a 17-year-old junior at Marriotts Ridge High School in Woodstock, Md., died in April from complications during the outpatient procedure performed on 5 million Americans each year,” reports Yahoo!

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the family by medical malpractice attorneys, makes claims that the oral surgeon and anesthesiologist were negligent. They failed to resuscitate the girl after her blood oxygen level and heart rate plummeted. The state’s chief medical examiner has determined that the young girl died from hypoxia – oxygen deprivation while under anesthesia.


While the family has declined to comment on the pending medical malpractice lawsuit, a family spokesperson did indicate that the family’s hope is to “highlight the surgery’s risks and the need for better emergency training among dentists and oral surgeons.”

Pediatric Dentistry and Medical Malpractice

Unfortunately, the Olenick case is one of many pediatric dentistry fatalities. Because oral surgery may require sedation or anesthesia, the “The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that three staff be present when deep sedation occurs in a dental office. The anesthesia provider should be a licensed medical or dental practitioner with certification for providing anesthesia; he should monitor the patient’s vital signs, airway patency, cardiovascular and neurological status and adequacy of ventilation,” according to Yahoo!

The AAPD guidelines also indicate that even if state law allows an anesthesia assistant or registered nurse anesthetist to administer anesthesia to dental patients, the dentist should still be trained and licensed to provide anesthesia. Additionally, both the clinical staff and the operating dentist have to be up to date in basic life support in the event that there is a complication while a patient is under anesthesia.

Additionally, due to the risks associated with any surgical procedure – especially one where a patient is sedated or under anesthesia – some dentists are beginning to question whether wisdom tooth extraction is necessary in the majority of cases. “Studies suggest no more than 12 percent of [wisdom tooth] impactions lead to infections or damage to adjacent teeth — roughly the same incidence as appendicitis. No medical associations recommend prophylactic appendectomy.”

While there seems to be dissension among different health organizations, it does make sense to work with a pediatric dentist with whom you are comfortable to help you make the right decision for your children and yourself. If you or a loved one have suffered complications from a surgical procedure, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney in Chicago or in your area to find out your options.

DISCLAIMER: All information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. The Law Offices of Malman Law shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list for 2018-2019.

  • Only the top 100 trial lawyers from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process based upon objective and uniformly applied criteria which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

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  • The American Institute of Trial Lawyers is an invitation only professional organization composed of premier trial attorneys from each state. These attorneys exemplify the very best qualities and qualifications of an attorney. Each attorney must meet stringent qualifications as a civil or criminal trial attorney. These attorneys practice in a variety of fields to help and promote the ethical and elite practice of law. Selection is based on a thorough multi phase process which includes peer nominations and third party research. Each member must be in good standing with their local compliance organization. Membership is extended to only a select few in each state and/or region.

  • As the founder of Steven J. Malman and Associates, P.C., Attorney Steven Malman has 21 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, premises liability, construction and workers’ compensation cases. Mr. Malman is one of Chicago’s leading authorities on personal injury law and has taken a special interest in defending the elderly from neglect and abuse. He has personally handled over 10,000 cases successfully, and collected hundreds of millions dollars for his clients.

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