An Edina dentist recently had his professional license suspended in connection with the death of his patient, 17-year-old Sydney Galleger. The dentist, Paul Tompach, is apparently a specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery and performed oral surgery on Galleger last June to remove her wisdom teeth. At some point in the surgery, complications arose and Galleger went into convulsions, and later died of cardiac arrest at a local hospital.
Sources say that Tompach called 911 and attempted CPR when Galleger began convulsing, and that she continued to have seizures after being stabilized. The exact cause of her death remains undetermined, but the autopsy revealed that a heart abnormality and a viral infection in her brain may have contributed.
One of the major findings of the board investigation was that Tompach had permitted a dental assistant to monitor Galleger as she received anesthesia, despite the fact that she did not have the course work and certification required by state law to do so. It isn’t clear, though, that this circumstance is what led to the complications that ultimately killed the teen.
Tompach appears to have a clean record in terms of disciplinary actions in Minnesota, though he did settle a malpractice suit in 1999. Last week, the board of dentistry met in order to vote on an arrangement detailing how part of Tompach’s profession is to be handled. The details of the stipulation are not publicly known, so we can’t comment on that.
In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this case, and why it is important for professionals to work with an experienced advocate when their license is threatened.