The family of a 24-year-old man who died unexpectedly following a wisdom tooth removal is awaiting autopsy results from the coroner.
Last month, Marek Lapinski saw Dr. Steven Paul, a Temecula, California-based oral surgeon, for a routine wisdom tooth removal, said ABCNews.com. According to the patient care report that was released by American Medical Response, Lapinski awoke during the procedure, coughing. He was given propofol, a strong anesthetic, ABCNews.com noted.
The man’s condition quickly deteriorated and he was transferred to a hospital. Three days later, he died and, now, his family is questioning the medical care he received from Dr. Paul. “What’s most shocking is the healthy 24-year-old goes in for an operation as routine as having his wisdom teeth removed and dies in the process,” Tony Keiser, a Lapinski family friend, told ABCNews.com. “It’s inconceivable.”
According to the paramedics who treated Lapinski, Paul told them that Lapinski awoke during the procedure, began coughing, and was given propofol, said ABCNews.com, citing the patient care report. When he stopped breathing, CPR was initiated and paramedics were called. The report states that when the paramedics attempted to intubate Lapinski, they discovered two pieces of surgical gauze in his airway, said ABCNews.com. “I really pray to God that there’s a hell of an investigation on this,” Keiser said.
Lapinski’s mother, April Lapinski, told ABCNews.com that Paul came to the hospital to offer his apologies over what occurred. “He did come, and he, you know, he said he was sorry,” she said. “He didn’t have any other explanations for me.” April Lapinski told ABCNews.com that the family was waiting for the coroner’s report before making a decision about whether or not to pursue legal action. “Now we wake up every morning and can’t believe it,” she said. “it’s just one big bad dream.”
Lapinski, the youngest of three children, was living and working in California when he went in for the routine procedure, friends said, according to WPXI. “He’s going to leave a legacy that’s just tremendous. It’s just crushing now because we’re all looking for a reason,” said Lapinski’s cousin, Dustin Hook. “He was the most driven and passionate person I knew.”
His family said he moved to the San Diego, California area to co-found T-3D, a firm that builds enhanced driving devices for military vehicles, explained WPXI. “I’m just so glad he did what he wanted to do to make himself happy,” said Hook. Total 3rd Dimension, explained NBC7, develops thermal and night-vision equipment for military use.
NBC7 reported that Lapinski went into cardiac arrest during the procedure, citing medical records provided by a family friend. Lapinski began suffering complications 30 minutes into the procedure. The ambulance report stated that a “small ‘surgical cone’” was also discovered in Lapinski’s airway, in addition to the gauze, and that the cone could not be removed. Lapinski was initially taken to Rancho Springs Medical Center and was later transferred to UCLA Medical Center, according to Keiser.
“Our lives are ruined,” April Lapinski said. “We don’t have him and he was the center of all of our lives,” NBC7 reported. Lapinski’s mother is seeking a full investigation into her son’s death, which, said Keiser, followed the administration of six drugs during the procedure.
Lapinski’s exact cause of death remains open pending completion of today’s autopsy.