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Dentist's license suspended months after teen dies during wisdom tooth surgery

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An Edina dentist's license was suspended after a teenager went into cardiac arrest while getting her wisdom teeth removed last summer.

The Minnesota Board of Dentistry ordered a temporary suspension of Dr. Paul Tompach's license on Jan. 29, which took effect immediately, with the order noting his "continued practice would present an imminent risk of harm."

The board issued the order after receiving credible information that Tompach "failed to provide appropriate oral surgery care" when he removed four wisdom teeth from a patient.

Sydney Galleger, 17 at the time, died on June 15 after spending several days in the intensive care unit following the normally routine dental procedure. She died of “anoxic encephalopathy [lack of oxygen in the brain] due to cardiac arrest during dental extraction," the medical examiner ruled, but her family says they "will never know" why she died.

Galleger's family has been updating her CaringBridge page periodically since her death. Most recently, her mother wrote her an emotional letter, saying "Eight months seems like forever but I relive your last days on this earth as if it were yesterday."

The board says it also learned that Tompach enabled medical personnel to perform tasks "which exceeded the legal scope of practice." Bridgett Anderson, the board's executive director, told the Star Tribune he allowed a dental assistant who wasn't certified to monitor the teenager while she received anesthesia.

The board is expected to vote on a "final order" at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Anderson told BringMeTheNews. The vote is closed to the public.

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