For many, the prospect of visiting the dentist is already one that is filled with anxiety, for several reasons. However, the death of a 17 year old young woman from Maryland may lead to additional fears about the dentist. According to the Baltimore Sun, the parents of Jennifer Michelle Olenick , a high school student from Woodstock, Maryland, have filed a civil suit against the dentist who was treating Jennifer on March 28, 2011, when her pulse and oxygen levels began to drop. Jennifer subsequently passed away on April 6, after laying in a coma for several days.
Jennifer Olenick, a 17 year old high school junior who was better known by her friends as Jenny, went in to the offices of Dr. Domenick Coletti on March 28, 2011 in order to undergo a routine wisdom tooth surgery. However, Jenny's surgery turned out to be anything but routine. The Baltimore Sun reports that according to Dr. David Fowler, the state's chief medical examiner, Jenny was first given a standard dose of anesthesia by anesthesiologist Dr. Krista Michelle Isaacs during the procedure that did not "get her deep enough so she was fully anesthetized." Because of this, more anesthesia was administered by Isaacs.
According to the Baltimore Sun, at approximately 8:05 a.m., Jenny began to experience bradycardia, or a slowing of her heart rate. Next, according to medical examiner Fowler, "A little while later, the oxygen saturation in her blood started dropping." Shortly thereafter, according to the autopsy report, Jenny went into hypoxic arrest. Emergency responders were called and advanced cardiovascular life support protocol was initiated. Jenny was subsequently rushed to Howard County General Hospital and then to Johns Hopkins Hospital for more specialized care. Tragically, Jenny died at Johns Hopkins Hospital on April 6 after being in a coma for days. Jenny's autopsy found that she suffered acute hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or damage to the brain from a lack of oxygen, and severe brain edema, or swelling of the brain tissue. These conditions are what lead to her death. However, the question is whether her death could have been avoided.
According to the lawsuit filed by Jenny's parents against her dentist and the anesthesiologist, her death most definitely could have been avoided. On November 30, 2011, Jenny's parents filed a lawsuit against Dr. Krista Michelle Isaacs, the anesthesiologist; Dr. Domenick Coletti, the oral surgeon; Central Maryland Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery PA and Baltimore Washington Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Center LLC, both Columbia practices in which Coletti is a partner; and Safe Sedation LLC, which the Maryland Board of Physicians Web site lists as Isaacs' primary practice setting. The lawsuit alleged that Isaacs and Coletti were negligent in their care of Jenny and failed to resuscitate her after her heart rate slowed to a "panic level" of 40 beats per minute and her body began losing oxygen. The suit goes on to claim that those failures led to Jenny not having a pulse when emergency responders arrived at Dr. Coletti's office, and that they directly allowed for the "massive and irreversible brain injury" that resulted in her death April 6.