Wisdom Teeth Death: Man, 24, Suffers Cardiac Arrest During Oral Surgery

Thursday, 04 Apr 2013 10:05 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A 24-year-old California man went into cardiac arrest during oral surgery to remove his wisdom teeth last month, resulting in his death three days later. Now his family is questioning the medical care he received.

Marek Lapinski, the vice president and part-owner of a Murrieta-based tactical equipment facility, underwent surgery on March 21 at Dr. Steven Paul's office in Temecula.

Lapinski began to cough during the surgery and went into cardiac arrest, according to his family. He died three days later at a nearby hospital.

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Natalie Lapinski, the victim's sister, told reporters her brother was given six different kinds of sedatives by Paul — including propofol, the surgical anesthetic that killed singer Michael Jackson — and said his oxygen levels indicated he might have been without air for up to 10 minutes, according to CBS News.

The ambulance report also states that a piece of gauze was removed from Lapinski's airway.

"I was told by the hospital that they weren't sure if this was all caused by him choking on a piece of gauze," April Lapinski, the victim's mother, told CBS News. "He had no health issues that we were aware of. This was very strange and unexpected. It was such a routine thing that we thought nothing of it."

Paul's attorney said that "all standard protocols" were followed during the procedure and that "no surgical procedure is without risk."

"The circumstances regarding Mr. Lapinksi’s complications are not completely understood," Clark Hudson, the surgeon's attorney, told NBC San Diego in an email. "What is understood is that Mr. Lapinski’s complications occurred despite the fact there were no apparent contraindications for his oral surgery, routine anesthetic medications were being used for the procedure, and immediate measures were undertaken to revive the patient as soon as the patient began to decompensate."

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Autopsy results were not yet available.

Related stories:

Surgeon Left 16 Objects in Man's Body, Causing Agony, German Suit Claims

Hip Surgery Complications More Common Than Thought

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