Although this is something of a worst-case scenario, this case demonstrates the need to be sure that whatever you do to a patient, you do no harm...
A dentist was seeing two patients for sedation. They were effectively accompanying each other and were not otherwise accompanied. While one patient was recovering from her own sedation, the dentist administered a sedative drug for an extraction on the other. Unfortunately, the patient collapsed and died shortly thereafter at a local hospital, despite the attempt of paramedics to resuscitate her.
A Coroner’s Inquest was held and the dentist was criticised for:
• Using an anaesthetic dose of the sedative drug
• Taking no adequate medical history
• Having no proper records
• Inappropriate monitoring and inappropriate handling of an emergency.
A verdict of unlawful killing was returned. The dentist himself passed away shortly thereafter through illness and no criminal charges were brought.
• Training of the whole dental team is required when using sedation, with particular attention to emergency resuscitation procedures
• All adopted protocols should be regularly reviewed in the light of current guidelines