Calif. man's death during oral surgery ruled 'accidental'

A San Diego man who went into cardiac arrest during routine third-molar extractions was given a combination of anesthetics that might have led to his death, according to the coroner's report.

On March 21, 2013, Marek Lapinski, 24, underwent surgery by Steven Paul, DDS, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Temecula, CA. In the midst of the procedure, Lapinski began to cough, was administered propofol, and subsequently went into cardiac arrest, according to previous news reports. Paramedics were called, they attempted to intubate him, and he was transported to a nearby hospital and placed in intensive care. He died on March 24.

According to the Los Angeles County coroner's report, which categorized the death as an accident, Lapinski suffered a fatal brain injury after "repeated dosing of anesthesia during oral surgery," according to a story in the Press-Enterprise.

Lapinski's family said his medical records showed a piece of gauze might have been blocking his airway and that he had received high doses of anesthetics. But Dr. Paul's lawyer, Clark Hudson, said he did not choke on gauze. The lawyer also said the type of anesthetics and the way they were delivered were appropriate for Lapinski.

According to the coroner's report, Lapinski was sedated and was coughing and bleeding heavily on March 21 after Dr. Paul had removed two of his third molars. The gauze being used to absorb the blood was replaced and he was given propofol before he went into cardiac arrest.

The coroner's report said it's unclear if Lapinski was choking on gauze or if there was a large blood clot.

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