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How to avoid getting your dental license suspended after a patient emergency

Here are 4 tools (3 of them FREE) to help you ensure your license never gets suspended.

Let's look at this tragic event and see how these tools might have helped prevent the death of this patient.

In August 2022, a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease visited the dentist to have three teeth extracted with alveoloplasty.

The patient's physician gave medical clearance for triazolam, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, amoxicillin, and midazolam.

However, the dentist administered triazolam, ibuprofen, amoxicillin, midazolam, ketorolac, bupivacaine, and articaine and then performed the procedure.

A patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease calls for the use of a Patient Risk Factor Matrix that allows a dentist to systematically assess:

  • ASA Classification

  • Metabolic Function

  • Body Mass Index

  • Blood Sugar Level

  • Apnea Hypopnea Index

  • Medications

...and then provides expert guidance on treatment options based on the Risk Factor score calculated from the Matrix.

This tool would have helped this dentist proactively plan the procedure to reduce risk and alert him to the disconnect between his plan and the medical clearance given by the patient's physician.

If you don't have a tool like this and sometimes treat patients with chronic conditions, you can get your Patient Risk Factor Matrix here.

About 50 minutes into the procedure, the patient’s oxygen saturation dropped to 78%, dropping further to 53% about eight minutes later. No other readings were recorded for the patient. The patient became unresponsive.

The single most important thing this dentist could have done to prepare for a patient's medical emergency in his operatory (and protect this patient and his practice from a career-ending mistake)...

Don't take my word for it!

Research shows that MOCK MEDICAL EMERGENCY DRILLS are the gold standard for competence among dental professionals in managing medical emergencies. (Notes 1, 2, and 3)

Despite this research, 4 out of 5 dentists have NEVER conducted a mock emergency drill since completing their initial education. (Note 4)

This is pure speculation, but I am wondering if this dentist was in the group of 80% of dentists who have never conducted a mock emergency drill once they began practicing.

If you're part of that group, you can get a free sample of a Mock Medical Emergency Drills Guide here and start conducting mock drills today.

About 40 minutes after the patient began experiencing distress, a staff member allegedly called 911.

Having, and practicing, their written Emergency Response Plan (ERP) most likely would have helped this dental team make a timely call to 911.

A great ERP makes it abundantly clear in an emergency who is responsible for taking what action. This awareness also makes it crystal clear when a needed action is NOT BEING TAKEN in accordance with the plan.

Again, I'm speculating, but I wonder if NOT waiting for 40 minutes to call EMS would have made a difference for this patient.

Get a FREE sample of a great Emergency Response Plan here.

Within about six minutes, the paramedics arrived, gave the man CPR, and transported him to the hospital.

The average response time for EMS in the continental United States is 15 minutes.

So, a six-minute response time is well above average.

The prepared dental practice does not depend on a 6-minute response time. They are prepared to keep a patient alive during an emergency for 30 minutes.

The best way to do that is to have and use a Quick Reference Checklist (QRC) that contains all of the needed actions, medications, and emergency equipment laid out for you in an easy-to-read format for ready chair-side reference in a situation like this dentist experienced.

After you see one of these Quick Reference Checklists, you'll wonder how you ever thought you'd be totally prepared for an emergency without them.

One more speculation... I wonder if this dentist wishes he had a QRC available during the 40 minutes they waited to call 911.

You can get a FREE sample of a Quick Reference Checklist here

At the hospital, the patient was admitted to the ICU. Approximately six hours later, the patient experienced another cardiac arrest and died.

As a result of the suspension resulting from his patient's death, this dentist cannot practice until the charges are resolved... causing untold financial devastation and a lifetime of regret.

After reading this case study, if you don't get any other of our FREE tools, GET THIS ONE!

This free guide walks you through exactly what you and your team need to do to practice for inevitable dental office patient emergencies... you know, the emergencies that happen 3000 times a year in dental offices (according to the ADA.)

I think you'll really enjoy this guide; it's a COMPLETE walkthrough of a comprehensive approach to conducting mock medical emergency drills.

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