CHICAGO, Aug. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) says that no child should ever die from elective dental anesthesia.
Citing recent deaths of children undergoing dental procedures and oral surgery, Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, PPAHS) singled out the case of 6-year-old Caleb Sears.
In an article published August 14, 2016, Annie Kaplan, MD, Patricia Salber, MD, MBA, and Mr. Wong describe what happened to Caleb - "Caleb Sears was a healthy 6-year-old boy who was looking forward to ice cream treats after his elective dental surgery. Before his dental extraction, Caleb's parents were told that, despite being generally safe, intravenous anesthesia has a risk of serious complications, including brain damage and death. What they weren't told was that anesthesia standards of practice vary in different settings. And, most importantly, that the risk goes up substantially when the oral surgeon is responsible for monitoring the effects of anesthesia at the same time that he is doing the operation."
To ensure the safety of children before, during, and after sedation for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) guidelines state that there must be a clinician present other than the practitioner whose sole responsibility is to monitor the patient's vital signs:
"The use of moderate sedation shall include the provision of a person, in addition to the practitioner, whose responsibility is to monitor appropriate physiologic parameters and to assist in any supportive or resuscitation measures, if required…
"During deep sedation, there must be 1 person whose only responsibility is to constantly observe the patient's vital signs, airway patency, and adequacy of ventilation and to either administer drugs or direct their administration."
Mr. Wong emphasized recommendations for patients and their families to ensure greater safety during elective dental procedures involving anesthesia, saying that if the clinician does not answer these questions to their satisfaction, patients and their families should consider finding another clinician to perform the procedure:
- Prior to a procedure involving moderate sedation or general anesthesia, patients and their families should ask their dentist or oral surgeon whether they will use a clinician with training in anesthesia—separate from the dentist doing the procedure—to administer and monitor the anesthesia consistent with recent pediatric guidelines.
- They should also ask what type of monitoring equipment (capnography, EKG, and continuous pulse oximetry) will be used during the procedure.
- Finally, they should inquire about the type of resuscitation equipment and emergency plan is available in the office where the procedure is being performed just in case there is an adverse event.
About Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety
Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety is a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote safer clinical practices and standards for patients through collaboration among healthcare experts, professionals, scientific researchers, and others, in order to improve health care delivery. For more information, please go to www.ppahs.org
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SOURCE Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety