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$635K Newport Wrongful Death Verdict Awarded in Orange County, California Medical Malpractice Case of Woman Who Suffered Anesthesia Complications While Getting Dental Implants

December 31, 1969

A California jury has awarded Tanisha Mitchell a $635,000 Orange County, California wrongful death verdict in her Newport Beach dental malpractice lawsuit against Smile Implant Center owner Dr. Thomas Teich and anesthesiologist Barry Friedberg. Mitchell is the daughter of Los Angeles resident Paula Kane, who went into respiratory arrest and became brain dead after undergoing a procedure for dental implants in January 2010.

Dr. Friedberg was the one who gave Kane the drugs so she could be under "oral conscious sedation." Kane, 57, went into respiratory arrest just hours later. The combination of propofol and benzodiazepines apparently shut down her respiratory system.

Anesthesia Complications
It is amazing how easily a routine surgical procedure can turn tragic due to Newport Beach anesthesia malpractice. Simple inattention or an error in judgment by an anesthesiologist can lead to mistakes that may cause a patient to experience severe pain and/or develop brain damage, post-traumatic stress disorder, nerve damage, systemic toxicity, heart problems, lung problems, aspiration hematoma, or infection. An anesthesia mistake may even prove fatal.

Some common causes of anesthesia errors:
• Inadequate monitoring
• Dosage errors
• Poor training
• Inexperience
• Machine failure

Dental Malpractice
One would think that a trip to the dentist whould be a lot safer than a visit to other types of physicians. However, dental malpractice can happen, including:

• Extracting the wrong tooth
• Failure to diagnose oral cancer
• Accidentally cutting the lingual nerve
• Nerve damage because of errors made when inserting dental implants
• Failure to inform patient about different treatments and risks involved
• Causing injury to the jaw
• Errors made when performing root canals or inserting dental bridges or crowns
• Anesthesia mistakes

"Even if a medical professional did not intend to cause harm, if injury or death results, he/she can be held liable for Orange County, California personal injury," said Newport Beach dental malpractice attorney Vincent Howard.

Apparently, at the time of Kane's surgery, Freidberg was not registered for general anesthesia with the Dental Board of California and Teich did not have a permit to perform oral conscious sedation. According to the OC Weekly, Teich is currently involved in 13 other medical malpractice complaints, and he has been charged with this type of negligence twice in California.

"Losing someone you love is always devastating,"said Anaheim wrongful death lawyer Vincent Howard. "While suing for damages won't bring him/her back, it can provide you with some financial relief to cover some of the resulting costs and damages, as well as serve as an acknowledgment of pain and suffering and loss.

The $635,000 awarded to Mitchell is for pain and suffering. However, because of California's non-economic damages cap, the award amount has been lowered to $250,000.

Woman Goes to Smile Implant Center in Newport Beach, Dies; Daughter of Deceased Wins Malpractice Suit, OC Weekly, June 7, 2012

More Blog Posts:
$22M California Medical Malpractice Verdict to Woman Who is Now a Quadriplegic Following Unnecessary Angiogram, California Injury Lawyers, May 22, 2012

Los Angeles Medical Malpractice?: Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeons Linked to 5 Lap-Band Deaths and 1-800-GET-THIN Marketing Campaign, California Injury Lawyers, May 15, 2012

Orange County, California medical malpractice attorney Vincent Howard runs Howard Law, P.C., which also represents clients in Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County.