Oral surgeon's license suspended after teen's death

- The Minnesota Board of Dentistry has suspended the license of an Edina, Minn. oral surgeon after a teenager died after having her wisdom teeth removed in June.

An order for temporary suspension of Dr. Paul Tompach’s license was issued Jan. 29, effective immediately. According to the order, the board received credible information that Tompach "failed to provide appropriate oral surgery care manage a medical emergency, and enabled allied dental personnel […] to perform tasks which exceeded their legal scope of practice.”

Sydney Galleger, 17, an Eden Prairie High School junior, was having her wisdom teeth extracted on June 9 at Edina Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Her family announced on a CaringBridge page she passed away on June 15.

“The Board has received credible information that Paul Tompach, D.D.S. has failed to provide appropriate oral surgery care when extracting four wisdom teeth from a patient, failed to appropriately manage a medical emergency, and enabled allied dental personnel (i.e., an unlicensed dental assistant, licensed dental assistant, and student intem) to perform tasks which exceeded their legal scope of practice,” the order reads.

The Hennepin County medical examiner’s report released in September listed the manner of death as undetermined:

“The cause of death for this individual is anoxic encephalopathy due to cardiac arrest during dental extraction. The manner of death is undetermined as the potential contributing role of medication administered during the surgical procedure could not be excluded.”

The temporary suspension will remain in effect “until the Board issues a final order in this matter.” A contested case hearing will be scheduled with the Office of Administrative Hearings, pursuant to the Minnesota Administrative Procedure Act. A hearing is supposed to be scheduled to start no later than 30 days after the order is issued.

Sydney’s mother, Diane Galleger, told the Star Tribune in a phone interview in September she's not sure if the family would seek further tests, and said at the time they didn't plan to take any legal action against the oral surgery group. Sydney was an alpine skier and a swim team diver and captain.

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