Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety Release Four Lessons Learned from the Death of 17 Year-Old Sydney Gallagher

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The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety offers four simple points to keep in mind following the tragic death of 17 year-old Sydney Gallagher after having her wisdom teeth removed.

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all patients receiving sedation, opioids or anesthesia [should] be continuously monitored electronically, with both pulse oximetry and capnography

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Following the recent tragic death of 17 year-old Sydney Gallagher, after having her wisdom teeth removed, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety released four lessons to be learned.

According to the American Dental Association, each year about five million people have ten million wisdom teeth extracted in the United States. Usually administered under a local anesthetic and sometimes under a general anesthetic, this oral procedure is generally considered routine and simple.

However, as the American Society of Anesthesiologists reminds us that although “anesthesia is safer than ever before, every person scheduled for a procedure or surgery must have a serious conversation with their physician anesthesiologist about their anesthesia care delivery plan ahead of time … Even ‘minor procedures’ are not risk-free.”

“Any time a patient receives anesthesia, even routine anesthesia during wisdom teeth extraction, appropriate precautions should be taken,” said Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety). “The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety recommends that all patients receiving sedation, opioids or anesthesia be continuously monitored electronically, with both pulse oximetry and capnography.”

The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety offers four simple points to keep in mind:

Even “minor” procedures can have major risks and “hidden harm”

Ask questions to fully understand the medical procedure you are to undergo

Make sure you are monitored electronically, with both pulse oximetry and capnography, if you are to receive sedation, opioids or anesthesia

Equipment and resources at an outpatient clinic or dentist’s office may be different than at a hospital

For more on these four lessons, please visit http://www.ppahs.org/blog/

About Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety

Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety is a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote safer clinical practices and standards for patients through collaboration among healthcare experts, professionals, scientific researchers, and others, in order to improve health care delivery. For more information, please go to http://www.ppahs.org

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