Thrissur: Early childhood caries is the dental caries occurring in children less than six years of age.
A three-year-old child named Aaron, a son of Kevin and nurse Felja from Paramel House in Thrissur, Kerala, died shortly after undergoing a pulpectomy (a root canal treatment-like procedure for milk teeth) at Malankara Mission Hospital in Kunnakulam. The child had multiple carious teeth, difficulty chewing due to poor oral health, and seizures. The consultant, Dr. Meenu Prasanna, provided two treatment options: continuing the procedure at the dental clinic on multiple visits or having all procedures completed under general anesthesia in a tertiary care hospital in one visit. This treatment plan was devised to cater to the treatment needs of multiple teeth that were infected in the child, and the treatments ranged from filling to pulp therapy, cap placement, and tooth removal. Upon notification by the mother, who was also a nurse, regarding the prevailing health condition of the child, the doctor assured her that due consultation with the anesthesiologist and appropriate tests and care would be provided.
The patient was admitted the previous evening, and on Tuesday morning around 6 a.m., he received general anesthesia and dental treatment. The procedure was completed at around 7.45 a.m., but the child was still unconscious when he was moved to the post-operative ICU for recovery. The doctor informed the mother that the procedure was well done and that if he recovered well, he could be discharged by the same evening. However, upon gaining consciousness, the child experienced severe discomfort, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and cardiac arrest, ultimately leading to his death.
But in the meantime, the parents were not allowed to visit the child. When the kid’s uncle entered the ICU unauthorized, he was shocked to see the child bleeding from his nose and mouth while the medical personnel were performing CPR on the kid. This happened around 11.30 a.m. At around noon, he was pronounced dead by the hospital staff.
The parents and family filed a complaint against the medical staff for negligence and not being informed of the post-operative complications. When asked about the incident, the consultant stated that post-operative care and related services were the hospital's responsibility, and she had no role in it. The hospital PRO Dixon reported that the child responded positively after the surgery and that his cardiac activities became negative after 3 hours. The mortal remains of the child were taken to Thrissur Medical College for a postmortem. The police filed an FIR based on the complaints of the relatives, and they are investigating the case as an unnatural death.
(Input from various media sources)
(Rehash/Bharkhavy K V)