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A seemingly-routine dental procedure ended tragically last month for a 14-month-old Houston, Texas, girl.

General Anesthesia Can Be Problematic for Young Children

The toddler was at Austin Children's Dentistry to have two cavities filled. According to the girl's parents, the dentist said that because of her age, she needed to be placed under general anesthesia.

According to experts, the use of general anesthesia for young children can be problematic. The concerns involve the potential impact to brain development more than any immediate negative impacts. Some experts recommend against using general anesthesia on children under 3 years old unless it is required for an urgent surgical procedure. One pediatric anesthesiologist says that the amount of anesthesia used should be based on factors including the child's weight and medical history.

Toddler Went Into Cardiac Arrest

The Texas girl's mother says that she was told to stay with her daughter as she was given the anesthesia, but was then asked to leave the room once it took effect. She says said within 15 minutes of the procedure getting underway, the dentist told her that the girl needed six cavities filled rather than two.

Shortly after that, she says, she was informed that her daughter had gone into cardiac arrest. However, she told the media that she was reassured that the little girl had been given cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and was fine.

Soon, however, the staff called an ambulance for the girl. Her mother says that by the time her daughter arrived at the hospital, she was brain dead. As they raise money to bury their daughter, the girl's parents are still awaiting the Austin-Travis County medical examiner's findings to determine just what caused their daughter's cardiac arrest while she was under anesthesia.

Determining Whether a Medical Professional Committed Malpractice

We all have to place our trust in medical professionals to properly care for us and our loved ones. Sadly, however, that trust is sometimes not deserved. It can be difficult, if not impossible, for those not in the medical profession to know whether a doctor, dentist or other health care provider's negligence or error was the cause of harm or worse. Medical malpractice attorneys, with the help of medical experts, can work to determine whether it rises to the level of medical malpractice under the law.

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