Anesthesia to blame for toddler’s death after dental visit

Daisy Lynn Torres (Family Photo)
Daisy Lynn Torres (Family Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The cause of death of 14-month-old Daisy Lynn Torres, who died on March 29 at a Northwest Austin dental office, has been determined to be the result of anesthesia administered for the treatment of tooth decay.

The results of an autopsy couldn’t definitively say if there was anything else that contributed to her death, the medical examiner’s office said Wednesday.

Betty Squier, the girl’s mother, said the dental office told her that there were more problems with her daughter’s teeth than expected; she had six cavities, four more than they thought she had.

Squier said the dental staff at Austin Children’s Dentistry, located on Hymeadow Drive, told her they sedated young patients all the time and that it was nothing to worry about.

The dentist initially told Squier that her daughter was fine after the procedure started — that the situation was under control — but then told her they had performed CPR. Squier says she later found out her daughter was not breathing and had gone into cardiac arrest.

“When EMS came, they told me to give her a kiss bye before they put her in the ambulance,” said Squier. At that point, Squier said she knew her daughter wasn’t going to make it.

Austin Children’s Dentistry continued seeing patients after the girl’s death. A spokesperson for Austin Children’s Dentistry, Sarah Marshall, says the office has not yet received information from the medical examiner’s office. She says the practice will review the information when it receives an update. An attorney representing the dentist who treated Daisy Lynn Torres wanted to be clear that the job of sedation was left to an anesthesiologist, not the denist.

The Texas Board of Dental Examiners says the investigation into Daisy Lynn’s death is still ongoing and could take at least a year before it is completed. A spokesperson for the Texas Medical Board has said the board does not release any information about complaints or investigations, citing state law.

KXAN received the following statement from Jason Ray, an attorney representing the dentist who treated Daisy Lynn Torres:

In response to your story regarding the death of Daisy Lynn Torres, you should know the pediatric dentist had nothing to do with the anesthesia Daisy received. In fact, the dentist has NEVER provided general anesthesia to ANY patients at any time in his career.  Instead, the dentist relied on a Board Certified Medical Anesthesiologist and the anesthesiologist’s support team.  The anesthesiologist was properly licensed by the Texas Medical Board, and credentialed by the American Board of Anesthesiology. The anesthesiologist had no history of complaints or administrative action by the Medical Board in his many years of practice, and he had served the pediatric dentist’s patients for years without incident.

Like Daisy’s parents, 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.”

Austin Children’s Dentistry also sent a statement Wednesday evening, saying their office continued to be saddened by the tragedy.

“We have been waiting for the medical examiner’s report in hopes that it would bring some closure for the family. We understand it has been classified as “undetermined” due to anesthesia complications administered by a Board Certified Medical Anesthesiologist and not because of a dental procedure,” the statement said in part.

“We know there are always risks associated with anesthesia, however, the loss of a child is particularly tragic.”

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