Family files lawsuit in death of 3-year-old boy at Wichita dentist office

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 10:55 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The family of a Scott City boy who died during a dental procedure has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Court records show an attorney representing the family of three-year-old Abiel Zapata Valenzuela filed the lawsuit just before noon on Tuesday.

The procedure took place on July 6, 2021, at Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry (TTPD) in west Wichita. Abiel was there for a routine dental procedure to address cavities. Medical records obtained by Brad Prochaska, the family’s attorney, show Abiel had no known lung or heart issues or drug allergies.

The lawsuit names Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry (TTPD), Dr. Scott White, Jeremy Salsbury, a licensed practicing certified registered nurse anesthetist and Special Anesthesia Services (SAS) as defendants in the case. The lawsuit notes the following timeline:

  • At 7:15 a.m., Abiel Zapata Valenzuela was given Propofol and Ketamine administered by CRNA Salsbury. During the administration of the anesthesia, Dr. White documented that there was “no appearance of hives, erythema, redness, etc. for signs of allergic reaction.”
  • Minutes before 8 a.m. another dose of propofol was administered by the CRNA. He then alerted Dr. White “of irregular heart rhythm and inadequate patient ventilation” as documented in the medical record,” according to the lawsuit.
  • At 8 a.m., it was documented that there was no pulse, CPR was initiated and 911 was called.
  • At 8:03 a.m. an endotracheal tube was placed emergently for ventilation by CRNA Salsbury. CPR was resumed. The endotracheal tube’s ventilation and subsequent CPR did not revive Abiel into a normal healthy condition.
  • At about 8:06 a.m., EMS arrived, a report was given to EMS and the CPR was continued.
  • According to the lawsuit, “EMS documented ‘that this patient was receiving a dental procedure when it was noted that the patient became apneic, and had no pulse. CPR and EMS was initiated...The CRNA reports that swelling was noted to be present after administration of the lidocaine. Worried for airway compromise, the patient was then intubated by the CRNA.’”

Prochaska said medical records show there was inadequate patient ventilation and a compromised airway meaning that Abiel couldn’t breathe and lead to his heart-stopping. He said there are a lot of unanswered questions as to what happened to Abiel during his procedure at TTPD last month and that is part of the reason for this lawsuit. The family also wants to keep this from happening to anyone else.

“Everybody needs to be held accountable if they’re careless or negligent, be it a lawyer, a doctor, an airplane pilot, someone driving a car. We all need to be accountable for our negligence. Looking at the medical records, and having an expert I’ve retained review them there appears to be negligence, or we call it malpractice.

Abiel’s family is seeking in excess of $75,000.00 from each defendant for compensatory and special damages, funeral expenses, court costs and other relief.

Prochaska said in filing this lawsuit he is looking to challenge the state statute that sets a cap on the monetary action that can be provided for malpractice cases and let a jury decide the amount.

Tuesday night, Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry issued a statement through their attorney saying, “We are disappointed that Mr. Prochaska has filed this lawsuit so prematurely. Many details spelled out in his filing are incomplete at best, and inaccurate at worst. Without the coroner’s final report, Mr. Prochaska can only speculate as to what occurred.”

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