Man Dies After Wisdom Teeth Removed

ABC News
Man Dies After Wisdom Teeth Removed
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Man Dies After Wisdom Teeth Removed (ABC News)

The family of a 24-year-old California man who died unexpectedly after having had his wisdom teeth removed is questioning the medical care he received during the routine oral procedure.

After the surgery last month Marek Lapinski, a software developer from San Diego, experienced complications. According to the patient care report released by American Medical Response, Lapinski woke up coughing during the procedure and was given the powerful anesthetic propofol.

But his condition quickly deteriorated and he was transferred to a hospital, where he died three days later. His family and friends have questioned the treatment he received from Dr. Steven Paul, an oral surgeon in Temecula, Calif.

"What's most shocking is the healthy 24-year-old goes in for an operation as routine as having his wisdom teeth removed and dies in the process," Tony Keiser, a friend of the Lapinski family, told ABCNews.com. "It's inconceivable."

According to the patient care report, the paramedics said that Paul had told them that Lapinski woke up during the procedure, started coughing and was given propofol. When Lapinski stopped breathing, CPR was started and the paramedics were called.

After they arrived, according to the report, the paramedics found two pieces of surgical gauze in Lapinski's airway as they tried to intubate him.

"I really pray to God that there's a hell of an investigation on this," Keiser said.

Lapinski's mother, April Lapinski, told ABCNews.com that Paul had come to the hospital to apologize for what had happened.

"He did come, and he, you know, he said he was sorry," she said. "He didn't have any other explanations for me."

Paul has not commented on the case, but his attorney, Clark Hudson, released a statement that said in part: "Dr. Steven Paul has always provided the highest level of oral surgery care to his patients. ... However, safe as oral surgery is in today's environment, no surgical procedure is without risk."

According to the statement, immediate measures were taken to revive Lapinski after his condition began to deteriorate.

"The reason for the patient's decompensation is unknown. However, all standard protocols were followed," Hudson said.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office has scheduled an autopsy for later today.

April Lapinski told ABCNews.com that the family was waiting for the coroner's report before deciding if it would pursue legal action.

"Now we wake up every morning and can't believe it," she said. "it's just one big bad dream."

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