Friday, February 11, 2011

Chicago Area Teen Dies From Root Canal Treatment?

Christopher Schutzius

Apparently so - due to an obviously massive infection - sepsis.
A 17-year-old boy from Blue Island died of an infection after he underwent root canal surgery, and his family says they believe the procedure may have been unnecessary.

Christopher Schutzius died of sepsis, a toxic infection, following the root canal, the Cook County medical examiner's office ruled following an autopsy Thursday. Medical experts say it is rare for serious complications to occur following a root canal, and usually only happen if an infection is present before the procedure.

Schutzius was a senior at Eisenhower High School and was to graduate in May.

Schutzius was pronounced dead just after 11 a.m. Wednesday at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, more than a week after undergoing the dental procedure. The teen's foster family says he went to an office of a national dental chain in Blue Island on Feb. 1 to have a filling replaced.

Schutzius lost a filling while eating a piece of caramel candy, according to two foster siblings, Candace Garcia, 20, and Richard Garcia, 23. He went by himself to the dental office, Dental Dreams, to have the filling replace and ended up having a root canal that his family believes was unnecessary.

The family said Dental Dreams is a popular facility in Blue Island because it takes public aid and serves many low-income families.

"They seen he was by himself and he didn't have a parent with him and took advantage." Richard Garcia said. "They decided ... 'we'll give him a root canal instead of a filling ..."

Throughout the week Schutzius applied over-the-counter pain medication to his aching mouth and complained of not feeling well, Candace Garcia said.

On Tuesday, Schutzius was lying still on the couch and didn't seem like himself. The family called an ambulance and he was hospitalized. He died the next day.
This is a horrible tragedy and why dental infections, while not always as quick spreading, must not be treated lightly. I have seen many patients wait until their faces swell up like a basketball and then get to sit in the hospital for a few hours/days of IV antibiotics after the dental surgery.

Please patients after a dental procedure, particularly one which involve an infection, if you are not feeling well or in excessive pain, please phone or see your dentist, dental clinic or ER.

It can mean your life.

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