A lawsuit filed on behalf of two South Point dentists accuses them of misdiagnosing a young girl with a condition known as “morbidity and mortality syndrome” (MMDS).
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, charges that the dentists treated the girl with an IV sedation, which can cause her to be extremely dehydrated, and then tried to perform the procedure on her again.
“We were instructed to give her water to hydrate her and get her out of the ICU,” said Dr. Paul Martinez, a Northridge dentist who works with the girl.
“We were told that if we gave her any liquid, she would die.”
The lawsuit was filed Monday and names both doctors, Dr. James Richardsons and Dr. Steven Martinez.
Richardsons is the director of pediatric dentology at Southpoint and Martinez is a dentist at Cornerstone Family Dental in Colorado Springs.
Both doctors denied the allegations.
Martinez, who also practices in Colorado, said the girl was given saline, which he said was given to prevent dehydration.
“The amount of saline that we gave was more than what I give my patients,” Martinez said.
“She was dehydrated for hours.
She didn’t have any water.”
Martinez said he was told by a pediatric dentist in Southpoint that the girl had the condition.
He said the child had not yet been referred to a pediatrician.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, says the parents of the girl, who is under 18, have been told that they are liable for the treatment.
“They are negligent, and if they do not fix the problem, then the parents are going to be liable for their daughter’s death,” said attorney Peter Hulbert, who represents the plaintiffs in the case.
“If you are a pediatricist, I would be more than happy to provide you with a second opinion, and to be able to do a follow-up if there was something that needs to be fixed,” Hulberts attorney, Michael Schumacher, said.
Hulbert said the lawsuit is the latest example of the escalating problems plaguing pediatric dentists in the country.
He said there are at least 13 cases of children dying while under sedation and a further 16 cases of patients who are hospitalized after being sedated for reasons that have nothing to do with their condition.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” Hudbert said.
“It’s a terrible situation that we have seen with children, especially when you look at other issues that have been occurring,” he said.
The plaintiffs in that lawsuit are also suing Southpoint, Martinez, and the state of Colorado.