Treacher Collins blamed for Texas boy's death

The death of a 10-year-old Texas boy following a routine dental procedure last September has been ruled accidental, caused by a genetic disorder that affects the structure of the face.

Marcos Tirado's death was caused by his pre-existing medical condition, Treacher Collins syndrome, also known as mandibulofacial dysostosis, according to a news report on The boy had received anesthesia at Harlingen Family Dentistry prior to having a tooth filled.

His family said they informed the dental team about the boy's condition, but the staff assured them it was "perfectly safe" for him to be given the anesthesia. But 10 minutes into the procedure, Tirado stopped breathing and was rushed to a local hospital. Doctors were able to revive him, but he slipped into a coma and died two days later.

Treacher Collins patients should only undergo dental treatment in a hospital setting, according to James Tom, DDS, an associate clinical professor at the Hermann Ostrow School of Dentistry and secretary of the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists.

A paper published last year in the Journal of Dentistry for Children noted that, for patients with Treacher Collins, "even simple dental restorative procedures can be challenging" due to associated medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, decreased oropharyngeal airways, hearing loss, and anxiety toward treatment (January-April 2012, Vol. 79:1, pp. 5-21).

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