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With most operations, Ontario patients understand there is a risk. Even simple medical procedures can be dangerous. However, it is not often that one hears of serious complications from dental work. Nevertheless, one little girl was left with a permanent brain injury after undergoing a routine dental procedure, and the family wants to know why.

The 4-year-old girl was given general anesthesia during her visit to the dentist. For reasons that have not been made public, the girl stopped breathing. It is unclear how long she was unconscious before help was called, but she was taken to a hospital and never regained consciousness. She remains in a rehabilitation center.

The dentist's case has been added to a list of 14 cases waiting to be heard before a tribunal. Three dentists and a representative of the public will hear the evidence and decide if the dentist acted improperly, and if so, what sanctions or penalties should be imposed. While the parents are anxious to hear the results of the investigation, they may have to wait months more for the tribunal's decision.

Like many parents in Ontario do when their children have been injured, the parents in this case have secured legal counsel. Because of her brain injury, the child is likely to require around the clock care for the rest of her life. She will probably require expensive medical equipment in her home -- along with nursing staff - or she will remain hospitalised. In either case, the family can be assured that their financial responsibilities will continue to mount. Having a lawyer to fight for damages may mean that their child receives the quality care she deserves.

Source: cbc.ca, "Public hearing ordered for Edmonton dentist after 4-year-old girl suffers brain injury", Alexandra Zabjek, Nov. 30, 2016

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