Illinois Teen Dies After Root Canal; Medical Malpractice Alleged

When a routine dental or medical procedure results in the death of an otherwise healthy person, allegations of medical malpractice may be filed. In addition, the person's heirs may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Sepsis Caused Death of 17-Year-Old Boy After Root Canal in Blue Island, Illinois

In February 2011, a 17-year-old boy received a root canal at Dental Dreams of Blue Island, Illinois. Days later he died of an infection the Cook County medical examiner said originated At site of the root canal. A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in connection with the case. The suit, filed by an estate representative, seeks medical and funeral fees, as well as unspecified damages.

The lawsuit states the dentist used incorrect equipment during the procedure and did not remove only the infected tissue; rather, the dentist removed all of the tooth's pulp. The suit also states that the dentist did not seal the tooth correctly or use a dental dam to help maintain a sterile environment. According to the head of orthodontics At University of Illinois, Chicago, this type of infection is very rare.

The teenager became sick within four days of the procedure and was hospitalized on February 8, 2011. He died the next day after he declined. After the death, the owner of Dental Dreams, who is also a dentist, released a statement saying the company was shocked and was conducting a review of the teen's treatment.

Sepsis occurs when the immune system responds to an infection in such a way that overwhelms the body, leading to inflammation and leaky vessels; reduced blood flow, elevated heart rate, and elevated blood pressure can result. Because reduced blood flow harms all of the body's tissues, sepsis and the resultant septic shock can cause death. Some people are more at risk for sepsis than others, such as those with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and children; however, anyone can develop sepsis.

Seeking Legal Advice for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Litigating medical malpractice or wrongful death claims can be complicated because of the medical knowledge that is sometimes necessary to prove a death or injury was caused by negligence. Additionally, medical malpractice cases that result in death can be emotionally fraught, making it more difficult for the plaintiff to navigate the legal ins and outs of wrongful death claims. Illinois residents who believe they or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice should seek guidance for a medical malpractice attorney.