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Dentist sued after Minnesota teen dies during wisdom teeth surgery

Lawsuit says teen was subjected to "unreasonable and unacceptable risk of harm."

It was June 9, 2015 when 17-year-old Sydney Galleger was supposed to have a routine procedure to extract her wisdom teeth. But it turned into a tragedy the bright-eyed teenager never recovered from.

Now, Galleger's family is filing a lawsuit against the Edina dentist that performed the surgery.

According to the Star Tribune, the lawsuit lays out a timeline of the morning at the dental office.

  • 9:00 a.m. – Sydney's surgery began with Dr. Paul Tompach.
  • 9:15 - 9:20 a.m. – Her heart rate fell dramatically, she had no pulse and suffered cardiac arrest.
  • 9:31 a.m. – A 911 call was placed and CPR began before EMTs arrived.

EMT's worked on Galleger before taking her to the hospital. Six days later, the 17-year-old died.

The family claims that Dr. Tompach "subjected Sydney to an unreasonable and unacceptable risk of serious harm" in the lawsuit.

According to KSTP, the family says Dr. Tompach knew the sedative medications he administered to Galleger during the procedure would increase the chance that her breathing would become impaired.

The lawsuit also claims that he failed to use monitoring equipment to measure Sydney's carbon dioxide level.

The allegations match the findings of the state Board of Dentistry's investigation, which placed restrictions on him in March of 2016.

In June of 2015, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Galleger's death to be anoxic encephalopathy due to cardiac arrest. However, the report notes, "The manner of death is undetermined as the potential contributing role of medication administered during the surgical procedure could not be excluded."

According to the lawsuit, the family is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

KSTP notes the family claims to have incurred roughly $200,000 in medical, funeral, burial and related expenses as a result of the incident, so the actual amount of the lawsuit could be much more significant.

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