An 18-year-old senior high school student died Feb. 22, just days after having his wisdom teeth removed, leaving a Maine community in mourning, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Benjamin Edward LaMontagne was known for living life to the fullest, playing unique instruments like the bass clarinet, pulling lobster traps, and meditating about the meaning of life over hot tea on Long Island in Casco Bay.
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His shocking death came less than three days after having impacted wisdom teeth removed on Feb. 19, his parents, Peter and Lynn LaMontagne, told the Herald. He woke up in the middle of the night on Feb. 22 and died as his mother held him.
Although his parents have said they believe his death was caused by complications from the routine oral surgery, initial autopsy results this week did not determine a cause of death, the Herald reported. More tests are being conducted.
Two oral surgeons not familiar with LaMontagne’s case told the Herald death from such a surgery is extremely rare.
“The frequency of death is so low that it can’t be accurately estimated,” Dr. Thomas Dodson, professor and chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle, told the Herald.
“I’m trained as an epidemiologist, and I can’t say I’ve even ever read (about a death) anywhere,” he added. “It’s kind of one of these things that, when we do studies and we enroll 10,000 patients, death doesn’t happen. You’d need to probably enroll hundreds of thousands of patients to assess the rate of death.”
As authorities try to determine LaMontagne’s cause of death, his family and many friends on the close-knit Maine island are grieving the loss of a special personality.
“The best part about him was that he did his own thing, he went his own way,” LaMontagne’s best friend, Christian Cilley, 18, told the Herald. “You could either jump on the train or watch it fly by.”
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