Parents of toddler who died during dentist visit file wrongful death lawsuit

Dental death lawsuit

AUSTIN - The parents of Daisy Lynn Torres -- the 14-month-old child who died on March 29, 2016 during a visit to a dentist at the North Austin Medical Center -- have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Austin Children's Dentistry, according to documents obtained by KVUE.

The girl was brought to the facility to have two cavities filled that day. She lost consciousness during the procedure and was rushed to a hospital, where she died.

In July of 2016, the Travis County Medical Examiner told KVUE that Daisy died from complications of anesthesia administered treatment.

The family is now suing the practice, the dentist, the anesthesiologist and the company he works for -- Texas Anesthesiology Association -- for $1 million in damages. The parents claim that the procedure that killed Daisy "appears to be a corporate scheme to bilk Medicaid of taxpayer dollars," the lawsuit said. The lawsuit claims that no sign of disease was evident in dental radiographs taken on the day Torres died.

The lawsuit said that the dentist, Michael Melanson, and Austin Children's Dentistry "performed painful, unnecessary dental procedures on Daisy Lynn Torres and in all likelihood, other infants and toddlers." The lawsuit said it was "work performed just to line the pockets of Austin Children's Dentistry and its affiliates at taxpayer expense." 

Wednesday, Daisy Lynn's parents spoke with KVUE's Jason Puckett about the pending lawsuit.

"This is to speak up for our daughter," Torres' father Elizandro Torres said. "There's procedures going on every single day and we don't want these parents to forget that they have rights. They can ask questions. They can get second opinions, third opinions...they can't ask too many questions."

Attorney Sean Breen is representing the family and said that the suit serves two purposes. One, to be a voice for Daisy Lynn and two, to get others to pay attention to what he calls a "problem."

"The problem is that around the country, Dentists and dental clinics are committing fraud - Medicaid fraud. They're doing procedures that aren't necessary and they're collecting money from it. Not everyone dies from that, but Daisy Lynne Torres did."

Daisy Lynne's mother Betty Squier said it's about "justice."

"She was our baby," she said. "She was our little girl. We think about her everyday. We know we won't see her again, but all we know is we want justice for her...her life was cut short and it didn't have to be that way."

According to KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman, the dentist's office has said the procedure was necessary, and last year sued the forensic dentist who came to the opposite conclusion, the document said.

Betty Squier, Daisy's mother, talked to KVUE shortly after Daisy's death. She said that after Daisy went under anesthesia, the dentist came out and told her they needed to do additional dental work.

"They told me to sit down with her so they could put her under and they told me to leave the room so I left the room. About 10 or 15 minutes into her procedure, the dentist came back, because originally she was only supposed to be going for two cavities, and he said I'm going to go ahead and do six. I'm going to do four crowns on top and two at the bottom,” Squier said.

A short time later, they alerted her that Daisy Lynn had gone into cardiac arrest.

Austin Children Dentistry's attorney said they are aware of the lawsuit, but will not comment on pending litigation.

RELATED STORIES:

14-month-old dead after dentist visit in NW Austin

Parents speak out about toddler's death

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APD releases 911 call of dental procedure emergency

Medical examiner: Toddler died from complications in dental procedure

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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