UPDATED: Anesthesia & Patient Safety
According to Channel 2 News, on July 24, 2017, Dr. Bethaniel Jefferson was indicted and charged with injury to a child in connection with the 2016 incident described below.
Recently my partners and I were saddened by the latest report that another patient has suffered serious injury as a result of complications arising during a dental procedure. More specifically, according to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, Dr. Bethaniel Jefferson, a general dentist, sedated a minor patient in her dental office. The patient began to experience seizures. Dr. Jefferson improperly treated the patient with the oral administration of Halcion and failed to contact emergency personnel in a timely manner. The patient has suffered brain damage as a result. Dr. Jefferson’s license to practice dentistry has been temporarily suspended and permanent suspension is pending.
As board certified oral surgeons, we continue to be concerned about the safety of patients who choose to be sedated in dental offices. At Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, anesthesia is a major part of our practice and it is provided in conjunction with most oral surgeries. We have an outstanding record of safety. As Diplomates of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, all of our surgeons have completed an accredited OMS residency program which includes formal training in anesthesiology. We maintain our certification through ongoing continuing education.
Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery offices are regularly inspected and utilize the safest and most technologically advanced equipment. Our surgical staff is required to pass the Dental Anesthesia Assistant National Certification Exam. In addition, our staff attends continuing education courses which include CPR training and emergency crash cart training. A pre-assessment of each patient is completed so that all involved understand the risks involved with anesthesia, and each patient is monitored closely before, during and after a procedure. Preparing for, recognizing and managing complications and emergencies is an integral part of our training. In addition to providing a successful surgical outcome, patient safety and comfort are our goals.
Before agreeing to oral surgery procedures and anesthesia in a dental office, ask the following questions:
- Would I be safer and more comfortable in a hospital or surgical office?
- Will my dentist perform the procedure or will an itinerant oral surgeon perform the procedure? Is the itinerant surgeon board certified? If I experience complications following oral surgery, will the itinerant oral surgeon be available to care for me?
- Does my doctor have the training and experience required to administer the prescribed level of sedation?
- Will I be monitored before, during and after my procedure? Who will monitor me and what are his/her qualifications? What equipment will be used?
- Is my dental office prepared to manage an emergency? For every level of anesthesia, the dentist and staff must have the appropriate level of training, skills, drugs, and equipment to identify and manage a medical emergency.
- Is my dental provider board-certified?
When oral surgery is prescribed, my partners and I strongly encourage you to consult with a board certified oral surgeon whose priority is your safety, comfort and a successful surgical outcome. Do not compromise your health, or worse yet, your life to unqualified or untrained dental professionals.
The surgeons at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery are Diplomates of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. They specialize in wisdom teeth extractions, dental implant preparation and placement, oral pathology, bone grafting, corrective jaw surgery and oral/facial trauma. For more information about Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, please visit texasoralsurgery.com.