Girl Dies While Under Anesthesia in Dentist's Office

Six-year-old Sama Hatib dental treatment ends in Haemek Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

A child died Friday while under anesthesia at a dentist's office in the town of Cana in the Galilee.

Six-year-old Sama Hatib's parents brought her Friday morning to the dentist, Dr. Ashraf Hatib, a relative. Another dentist was present.

Sama Hatib - Reproduction -21082011

An ambulance from a local company arrived and paramedics began administering CPR with the office's staff. A Magen David Adom intensive care ambulance then arrived and took Hatib to Haemek Hospital in Afula where she was pronounced dead.

The child's body was taken to the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine; the police said the results will indicate how the investigation will proceed.

The likelihood that Hatib died of an allergic reaction to the anesthesia is very low, said Dr. Menachem Rotem, chief of the allergy, asthma and immunology department at Haemek Hospital. "The main cause for the death of patients during dental treatment is an overdose of anesthetic or a reaction between the anesthetic and a medication the patient is taking," Rotem said. "Another risk factor is irregular heartbeat or a heart condition."

In January 2005, the 2-year-old grandson of Jerusalem's mayor at the time, Uri Lupolianski, died after being sedated for dental treatment. The Health Ministry said the dentist had been negligent in not monitoring the child during the entire treatment.

In 2001, journalist Gideon Lev Ari died following a tooth extraction after he was infected by the necrotizing fasciitis flesh-eating bacteria. The court rejected a malpractice claim against the dentist by the journalists' heirs.

A 2002 study by Dr. Nili Lador-Karp of Hadassah University Hospital of deaths following dental treatment in Israel found that the likelihood of a death under such circumstances is 1 in 500,000. Lador-Karp found 18 cases of such deaths between 1979 and 2000, 15 of whom were women with heart or respiratory problems.

CPR was performed in 11 of the fatalities examined in the study, but the study found failures in the administering of CPR and in the equipment kept at dental clinics for this purpose.