A parent’s worst nightmare occurred when the mother of 5-year-old A. Hernandez (first name withheld for the child’s privacy) knew something was wrong on the way home from the dentist’s office. Her son lost consciousness on the way to the emergency room, and was unable to be revived until the medications used by employees at Rose Dental Group of Escondido, California were confirmed and reversed.
Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. The young patient began exhibiting developmental delays, behavioral disturbances, and terrors and anguish no child should have to experience. A jury saw the details presented by lawyer Robert Vaage, and decided to award over $3.5 million dollars to the child’s family.
If you need fierce and effective legal representation for your child, contact the Vaage Law Firm right away at (619) 338-0505. We are here to help families secure the financial support they need to stay strong for their children.
For more information on this case, dental negligence, and the impact of child brain injuries, read on.
What Went Wrong During a Dentist Visit to Cause a Child’s Brain Injury?
In the medical malpractice case brought against Dr. Mahtab Saadatmandi and Rose Dental Group, here is the evidence the jury found compelling enough to award a multi-million dollar decision:
- After a routine in-office dental procedure, 5-year-old A. Hernandez wasn’t okay — he soon lost consciousness, and was unresponsive to stimuli at the emergency room.
- Only when the ER doctors called Dr. Mahtab Saadatmandi and the Rose Pediatric Dental Group to find out what medications had been used on the child were they able to return the boy to consciousness.
- When they administered the antidote, the kindergarten-aged child woke up screaming, and his mother started noticing behavior and academic problems with her son: bedwetting, hitting himself, and night terrors. He was also falling behind in school.
- A neuropsychologist expert tested him and found multiple cognitive problems, all in areas of the brain associated with lack of oxygen.
- On July 24, 2023, a jury awarded the family a total of $3,550,000 for medical expenses due to brain injury, lost earnings, and non-economic losses like diminished quality of life, physical pain, and mental suffering.
It is evident that A. Hernandez suffered a hypoxic brain injury (partial oxygen deprivation to the brain) from oversedation by a combination of oral conscious sedation medication used during a dental procedure. The jury found that Mahtab Saadatmandi, D.M.D., the owner of Rose Dental Group, was negligent in the management and supervision of dental services and violated the law.
“This was a difficult case, especially since the child had no findings on a neurologic exam. The brain injury was proven by circumstantial evidence based on school records, behavioral records, and witness testimony of how the child changed after the conscious sedation,” Vaage added. “The jury got it right.”
Why Was Dr. Mahtab Saadatmandi of Rose Dental Group Ordered to Pay Over $3.5 Million to an Injured Child?
This case hinged on proving that there was shockingly casual negligence exhibited by Dr. Mahtab Saadatmandi, and Rose Dental Group.
Attorney Vaage explained the failures and violations to the jury by showing that:
- The California legislature recognized the need for a safety system and created laws and regulations for the use of oral conscious sedation drugs in pediatric dental procedures.
- This safety system includes monitoring vital signs, taking a medical history, performing pre- and post-sedation assessments, notation of the patient’s condition at discharge, and recording the rationale for sedation.
- Dr. Saadatmandi and his office personnel violated these laws. According to Bob Vaage: “DentiCal pays more for ‘behavior management’ than ‘conscious sedation,’ almost six times more. The biller at Rose Dental admitted to making up diagnoses based on a Google search to justify the more expensive billing code for the plaintiff.”
It is disturbing to realize that a life-long brain injury was inflicted on a happy, thriving little boy because the procedure was more profitable to the Rose Pediatric Dental Group.
How Does a Brain Injury Affect a Young Child?
In general, a brain injury can have a profound impact on a young child’s development and overall functioning. Here are some common ways a brain injury can affect a young child:
- Cognitive and communication problems: Brain injuries can lead to deficits in various cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, problem-solving, and language skills. Brain injuries can affect language processing and expression, leading to difficulties in understanding spoken language, expressing thoughts, or using appropriate language.
- Academic challenges: Due to cognitive and communication difficulties, brain-injured children may struggle academically and may require special education services or accommodations.
- Emotional changes and social difficulties: Brain injuries can impact a child’s emotional regulation, causing them to be irritable, impulsive, or experience mood swings. Brain-injured children may also encounter challenges in understanding social cues and forming or maintaining relationships with peers.
- Sensory issues: Some children with brain injuries may develop sensory processing difficulties, leading to hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to sensory stimuli, such as touch, sound, or light.
- Motor impairments: Depending on the location and severity of the injury, a child may experience motor impairments, such as weakness, coordination problems, and difficulties with balance and fine motor skills.
A brain injury can make a child’s life more difficult in all aspects: it’s harder to think, speak, learn, adapt socially, and to simply be in and move throughout the world. In A. Hernandez’s case, the brain injury caused severe behavioral and academic challenges that disrupted the child’s life and comfort.
It’s essential for young children with brain injuries to receive early intervention and appropriate rehabilitation to help maximize their potential for recovery and development. A personal injury lawsuit can help pay for these treatments, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, and counseling.
Contact a Brain Injury and Child Injury Law Firm
Children’s injury cases have unique legal considerations compared to adult injury cases. The timeline to bring a case is different, the responsibility of the person who was supposed to be caring for the child must be examined, and the profound life-long impact of the injuries must be fully and accurately calculated.
A brain injury before or during a child’s key developmental years, for example, may cause difficulties they must manage for the rest of their lives. Families only have one opportunity to bring a lawsuit for these injuries, so the settlement or verdict must account for the future cost of care, and inevitable economic inflation. All of these needs were addressed in the case of A. Hernandez, as well as the emotional distress caused to the child and his loved ones.
At Vaage Law, we have extensive experience in brain injury cases, and a network of experts that can be called upon to prove them in court. We also have a track record of helping the families of children injured by medical negligence, including a $25.6 million Kaiser arbitration award for an injured child.
Contact Robert Vaage and the Vaage Law Firm at (619) 338-0505 right away if your child has been harmed by negligence. Our office will handle the investigation of your case, secure expert testimony as needed, and handle your case through negotiations or at trial if the other side refuses to deal fairly. Your initial consultation is free and fully confidential, and we work on contingency, meaning we only collect our fees after we win on your behalf.
At Vaage Law, we invest our resources in your case so that families experiencing financial hardships can pursue justice without having to pay for it upfront. Trust us with your child’s future — we will do everything in our power to serve their best interests.