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Second child dies in care of New Jersey dentist

A mother in New Jersey took her 3-year-old son to a dentist for a routine procedure. The boy was placed in a kind of papoose to restrain him while he was given a local anesthetic and his cavities were filled. But according to the mother, the little boy's body went limp, and his lips turned blue. He had stopped breathing. The child was later pronounced dead at a New Jersey hospital, and the dentist who gave the little boy anesthetic is now under investigation for medical negligence.

Readers in the Moorestown area who have heard of this case were likely shocked when they learned that the 3-year-old was actually the second child who had died while in the dentist's care. In 2004, a 6-year-old girl with cerebral palsy was also placed in a papoose and given a local anesthetic. She also stopped breathing during the procedure and later died.

In her case, a medical examiner determined that the 6-year-old's death resulted from natural causes related to her medical condition.

Still, the Board of Dentistry filed a complaint against the dentist in 2008. A judge, however, ruled that the dentist was not guilty of gross negligence. The board suspended the dentist for three months anyway, in addition to placing him on probation for another 21 months.

The families of the two deceased children want the dentist's license revoked.

"It can happen once, but not twice," said the mother of the 6-year-old. "Two innocent kids die. It can't be a coincidence."

Prosecutors are also looking into whether a criminal investigation is needed, and the families of the children will likely have grounds to file civil claims of their own.

Source: Huffington Post, "Patrick Bamgboye, New Jersey Dentist, Investigated After Second Child Dies In Care," Feb. 15, 2012

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