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Dentist Suspended After Autopsy Report Of Daisy Lynn Torres, Toddler Who Died During Dental Procedure, Blames Anesthesia

Dentist Suspended After Autopsy Report Of Daisy Lynn Torres, Toddler Who Died During Dental Procedure, Blames Anesthesia
It’s a conflicted and unfinished conclusion to an undoubtedly tragic story.On July 13, the Travis County Medical Examiner’s office released the full autopsy report of Daisy Lynn Torres, a 14-month-old girl who died following a dental procedure performed at the Austin Children's Dentistry in North Austin, TX. As reported by KEYE TV, the report concluded that her death was the result of complications from anesthesia, not the procedure itself. Torres was set to have crowns placed on her teeth, with the anesthesia administered by a board certified anesthesiologist and not Torres’ treating dentist, Dr. Michael Melanson. Ultimately, the non-natural death was classified “undetermined.”Two days later, however, the Medical Examiner’s office released an accompanying forensic review of Torres’ medical records performed by Robert Williams, DDS, of the American Board of Forensic Odontology. Williams found little justification for the procedure in the first place, stating that “no indication of dental disease or pathology” was seen in the dental x-rays taken of Torres.In response to the review, Austin Children's Dentistry took action against Melanson, noting the report had provided them with details they didn’t previously have. “At this time, we feel that it is prudent to suspend Dr. Melanson indefinitely until the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners has concluded their investigation,” said a statement released by the company. “We are cooperating with all investigative organizations.”Elsewhere, other dentists have questioned the decision to use anesthesia for a procedure that Betty Squier, Torres’ mother, said was described to her as “routine.”"It should be avoided if possible, unless a condition requires it and it is the safest route," Dr. Robert Delarosa, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, told People Magazine in April. "The main reason it's used is because small children are prone to squirming in their chairs. If a dentist is holding a sharp object, a moving child can bump their hand, causing further damage."In a statement released to the media by Melanson’s attorney following the autopsy report, the lawyer noted that neither Melanson nor the anesthesiologist have ever been disciplined before. ”The pediatric dentist has been greatly affected by this heartbreaking event, which is the first medical incident in his career. His heart goes out to the parents and family of the child,” said the statement.A second statement questioned the review’s findings. “We reviewed the odontologist's report and found troubling clinical oversights from the forensic dentist and his report,” the statement said. “Personal privacy laws and federal HIPAA regulations prevent us from revealing facts that demonstrate many significant errors in that report; those facts fully justify the dental treatment Daisy received.” Youtube

It’s a conflicted and unfinished conclusion to an undoubtedly tragic story.

On July 13, the Travis County Medical Examiner’s office released the autopsy report of Daisy Lynn Torres, a 14-month-old girl who died following a dental procedure performed at Austin Children's Dentistry in North Austin, Texas earlier this March. As reported by KEYE TV, the report concluded that her death was the result of complications from anesthesia, not the procedure itself. Torres was set to have crowns placed on her teeth, with the anesthesia administered by a board certified anesthesiologist and not Torres’ treating dentist, Dr. Michael Melanson. Ultimately, the non-natural death was classified “undetermined.”

Two days later, however, the Medical Examiner’s office released an accompanying forensic review of Torres’ medical records performed by Robert Williams, DDS, of the American Board of Forensic Odontology. Williams found little justification for the procedure in the first place, stating that “no indication of dental disease or pathology” was seen in the dental X-rays taken of Torres.

In response to the review, Austin Children's Dentistry took action against Melanson, noting the report had provided them with details they didn’t previously have. “At this time, we feel that it is prudent to suspend Dr. Melanson indefinitely until the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners has concluded their investigation,” said a statement released by the company. “We are cooperating with all investigative organizations.”

Elsewhere, other dentists have questioned the decision to use anesthesia for a procedure that Betty Squier, Torres’ mother, said was described to her as “routine.”

"It should be avoided if possible, unless a condition requires it and it is the safest route," Dr. Robert Delarosa, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, told People Magazine in April. "The main reason it's used is because small children are prone to squirming in their chairs. If a dentist is holding a sharp object, a moving child can bump their hand, causing further damage."

In a statement released to the media by Melanson’s attorney following the autopsy report, the lawyer noted that neither Melanson nor the anesthesiologist have ever been disciplined before. “The pediatric dentist has been greatly affected by this heartbreaking event, which is the first medical incident in his career. His heart goes out to the parents and family of the child,” said the statement.

A second statement put out by Melanson's lawyer questioned the review’s findings. “We reviewed the odontologist's report and found troubling clinical oversights from the forensic dentist and his report,” the statement said. “Personal privacy laws and federal HIPAA regulations prevent us from revealing facts that demonstrate many significant errors in that report; those facts fully justify the dental treatment Daisy received.”

"I've been mourning the loss of my daughter and I thought it would bring me comfort to know what happened to her. Or a peace of mind to know exactly what happened. But it doesn't," Squier told KXAN News following release of the autopsy report on July 13. "I don't know, it's still there. That pain is still there and it may never go away."

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