9 Investigates

Autopsy released on teen's death following dental surgery

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An autopsy has been released that shows how a local 17-year-old suffered irreversible brain injury after routine dental surgery.

9 Investigates first reported about the death of Christopher Power in May.

Power was brain dead for two days before his parents made the painful decision to pull the plug, his parents said to investigative reporter Daralene Jones, just two weeks later.

"Everyone is saying we are strong, but it's just that we try to pull from God's word just to get us through, " Allison Power said.

Medical records show Dr. Steven Baxter placed him under conscious sedation at Kissimmee Family Dentistry to have his wisdom removed.

The autopsy shows he stopped breathing, causing irreversible brain damage and he suffered cardiopulmonary arrest during administration of anesthesia.

The medical examiner found nothing in his medical history that would've caused it, and there is no anesthesia record to show Power's blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen were being monitored.

There is also no record to show if he was given all of the anesthesia at once or over time. That would've helped the medical examiner determine at what point Power was experiencing a problem during the routine procedure.

"When something went wrong, the doctor is in the room with the patient and has to become the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the assistant, it's a difficult situation, and that's what went wrong in this case," attorney Stanley Lane said.

Lane represents the family and is preparing a civil lawsuit against the doctor and the practice, Eyewitness News learned.

The State Department of Health has taken no action against his license, but acknowledges an ongoing investigation, which will rely in part on this autopsy report.

At least one lawmaker is now pushing for a review of the requirements for performing conscious sedation, Eyewitness News learned.

The family now questions whether the right equipment and monitoring were in place to resuscitate their son when trouble started.

"This wasn't supposed to happen. It's just a simple dentist office visit," Michael Power said.

An attorney sent on a statement on behalf of Baxter.

"I must still decline to provide any specific comments regarding Dr. Baxter’s care of Mr. Power due to patient privacy laws and pending litigation. However, I did want to address your questions about monitoring and the anesthesia record. Mr. Power was properly monitored by Dr. Baxter and the Kissimmee Family Dentistry staff during the April 22, 2016 procedure. Mr. Power’s vital signs were appropriately recorded on an anesthesia record. The original anesthesia record was given to the EMS personnel when Mr. Power was transported to the hospital. A copy of the record was not kept by Dr. Baxter or the office staff. We have requested that the anesthesia record be located, preserved, and produced, but to date it has not been produced. We are continuing our efforts to locate the record."

Contact Daralene Jones for more on this story.