9 Investigates

Lawmakers want review of dental procedure after Kissimmee teen dies during routine surgery

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Two Florida lawmakers want the state to review guidelines for dental procedures involving sedation.

Lawmakers spoke out after they saw 9 Investigates’ report last week about the death of 17-year-old Christopher Power.

The Kissimmee teenager never woke up from routine surgery to have his wisdom teeth removed.

Raw: Christopher Power's parents 

His family filed a notice of intent to sue the doctor and the practice where the surgery took place.

An autopsy that will reveal Power’s cause of death has not been released.

Power lost consciousness last month after he was sedated for routine wisdom teeth extractions.

“It broke my heart first and foremost, (seeing) those parents, just can't imagine. And then, I thought to myself, ‘Is there a circumstance where we can prevent that from happening again?’” Rep. Mike Miller (R-Fla.) told investigative reporter Daralene Jones.

Miller wants a review of the sedation process.

“Working with my committee, the Health Quality Committee, to craft legislation that would look at guidelines for sedation, and discuss how and why it should be done in a dentist office, oral surgeons’ office,” Miller said.

Power's medical records show Dr. Steven Baxter used Midazolam and Demerol to put him under conscious sedation.

A staffer at Kissimmee Family Dentistry said there was a dental assistant in the room during Power's surgery.

Florida law only requires dentists using pediatric conscious sedation to perform the work with an assistant or dental hygienist, certified in various life-saving procedures.

State Sen. Darren Soto sent a letter to the Florida Department of Health requesting a review of the drugs used during these procedures and the education required for dentists.

“Anesthesia is a dangerous type of procedure in itself, that's why we have folks, when we're dealing with sedating people, for surgeries that are just doctors of anesthesiology,” Soto said.

Although he said he’s not necessarily advocating the state require anesthesiologists, he maintains it’s a serious procedure that requires proper training.

The director of the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists said the state should require a nurse anesthetist or an anesthesiologist.

The group represents 3,500 nurses statewide.

The director argues a dentist cannot focus on monitoring sedation and surgery.

Attorneys for Baxter and Kissimmee Family Dentistry said they cannot comment on the case due to confidentiality laws and the pending civil lawsuit.