Patient death leads oral surgeon to surrender license

Executive Board

An oral surgeon in Washington has voluntarily surrendered his license for allegedly practicing below the standard of care in his treatment of a patient who died following complications related to tooth extractions, according to the Washington Medical Commission.

Dr. Thomas Laney, a dentist and a medical doctor who remained licensed despite a patient death about 15 years ago and several malpractice lawsuits, will not be able to renew or reactivate his license, according to a press release dated May 16 by the commission.

In January 2023, an 87-year-old patient with a history of health conditions, including dementia, congestive heart failure, strokes, hypertension, and an in situ pacemaker, went to Laney's oral surgery practice in Moses Lake, WA, to have six teeth removed while under IV and local anesthesia. The patient's primary care doctor approved the procedure, according to a statement of allegations.

After placing the patient under anesthesia and starting the procedure, the patient's oxygen saturation levels dropped and the patient developed a very low blood oxygen level. Laney gave the patient additional medication, assessed the patient for an obstruction, and inserted a laryngeal mask airway. Despite the severity of the patient's condition, Laney reportedly continued the elective surgery, according to the allegations.

The patient's saturation levels continued to fall and emergency medical services were contacted about two hours after the procedure began. Ultimately, the patient died, according to the statement.

In 2008, Laney was practicing in Seattle when he was sued by an 18-year-old woman who said he botched a breast reduction surgery three years prior. At the time of this lawsuit, Laney had stopped performing cosmetic surgeries.

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