Texas Dental Board clears Austin dentist of any wrongdoing in toddler’s death

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

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The dentist who was treating a 14-month-old girl for cavities when she died after going under anesthesia has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.

Dr. Michael Melanson was working on Daisy Lynn Torres’ teeth at the Austin Children’s Dentist in northwest Austin on March 29, 2016 when she suffered complications and died. The child’s autopsy report ruled that anesthesia caused her death.

There was an anesthesiologist on-site during Daisy Lynn’s appointment, according to a 911 recording and a spokesperson from Austin Children’s Dentistry. However, what as at issue in a lawsuit is a portion of the autopsy including a report from a forensic dental examiner, Dr. Robert Williams. The report questioned why the child was having a dental procedure before she died. The report prompted Austin Children’s Dentistry to suspend Dr. Melanson, who no longer works at the practice, last July.

At the time, the dental office said he would remain suspended until the State Board finished its investigation.

In response to the recent ruling, Melanson’s attorney Mike Yanof said, “The dental board has closed its investigation and they found insufficient evidence to support proceeding further in the matter.” Last summer, Yanof said his client never provided general anesthesia to any of his patients.

In February, Daisy Lynn’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the practice, the dentist, the anesthesiologist and the company he works for, Texas Anesthesiology Association. The lawsuit claims the girl’s death was part of a corporate scheme to bill Medicaid for unnecessary dental procedures.

“It’s unclear which complaint the attorney is saying he was allegedly cleared of because there was more than one. But more importantly, he has not been cleared by a jury, which is a far cry from some toothless board,” said the Torres’ family attorney Sean Breen.

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