The family of a 14-month-old girl who died while under anesthesia at the dentist has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging the toddler’s death was part of a Medicaid scheme. The lawsuit was filed against Dr. Michael Melanson, Austin Children’s Dentistry, Dr. David Williams, and Texas Anesthesiology Association. In March of 2016, the Torres family brought Daisy Lynn to Austin Children’s Dentistry to have two cavities filled. While Daisy Lynn was under anesthesia, the family was told that their daughter had a total of six cavities that needed to be filled. The dentist reportedly told the family that the procedure was normal and necessary. At some point during the procedure, the toddler stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest.
The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that the toddler died from complications of anesthesia administered during the procedure. The autopsy report indicates that the toddler’s dental records from a previous visit did not contain any mention of tooth decay. Additionally, the forensic dental examiner questioned Dr. Melanson’s decision to perform the dental procedure considering there was no indication of dental disease or pathology seen in dental x-rays taken the same day as the procedure. An attorney for Dr. Melanson responded by issuing a statement that all evidence of dental disease had already been removed by the time the forensic dental examiner examined the toddler. The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners is still investigating the toddler’s death. According to the lawsuit, the procedure was unnecessary and was part of a larger corporate scheme to bill Medicaid for unnecessary dental procedures. The parents are seeking damages over $1 million.