Teen Dies After Root Canal

Updated 2/11/2011 at 5:15 p.m.

BLUE ISLAND, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — A woman is raising questions about her foster son’s death after he had oral surgery in a Blue Island dentist’s office.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, Laura Serna said her 17-year-old foster son, Christopher Schutzius, lost a filling while eating a piece of a caramel late last month.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

He went to Dental Dreams, 12200 Western Ave., Blue Island, on Feb. 1 to have the filling replaced and wound up having root canal surgery.

The Blue Island teen began feeling sick Saturday and stayed home from school Monday. On Tuesday night, his condition worsened with a 107 fever and he was rushed to the hospital.

At 11:05 a.m. Wednesday, Schutzius died at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, police said. The cause of death was sepsis, a toxic infection he contracted after root canal surgery, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Serna has questions regarding his death.

“All they had to do was replace a filling. Why do a root canal?” she said, adding that Schutzius was not given a prescription for a painkiller or an antibiotic.

 WBBM Newsradio 780 has been told several dentists work at Dental Dreams. Dental Dreams released a statement that said, in part: “We were shocked to hear this news and express our deepest condolences to the family.  We are conducting a thorough review of his treatment and will provide further details as they become available to us.”

Schutzius started feeling ill Saturday, “but his sister was sick, too, so we thought it was the flu,” Serna said.

He stayed overnight Saturday with his natural mother, Barbara Schutzius, in Alsip and returned to the Serna home Sunday night. On Monday, while watching TV with Serna, Schutzius said his body ached and his throat hurt, according to Serna.

She said he slept all day on the couch Tuesday and became more ill that night, leading her to call 911.

A senior at Eisenhower High School, Schutzius would have been 18 in April and would have graduated in May. Eisenhower Principal Gary Rauch said two dozen students have sought grief counseling over Schutzius’ death.

“He was a wonderful kid,” his foster brother, Richard Garcia, told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot. “It’s hard to believe he’s not with us anymore.”

A root canal specialist who spoke to CBS 2 off camera says life-threatening sepsis after a root canal is extremely rare and that root canals remove infection and save teeth.

A spokesperson for the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation says when a patient dies or has an adverse outcome from treatment, the agency opens an investigation.

The SouthtownStar contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

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  • MJ Reis

    How sad. My prayers go out to the family. I can’t help wondering why wasn’t this boy given antibiotics after this procedure. Antibiotics are the normal, basic course of treatment. It makes you wonder who was treating this young man. There should be a thorough investigation into Dental Dreams to find out why proper procedure wasn’t followed.

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    […] Teen Dies After Root Canal BLUE ISLAND, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — A woman is raising questions about her foster son’s death after having oral surgery […] […]

  • Raymond Prudente

    I underwent root canal initiated by my treating dentist, Dr. Kalee Bugman of Stone Dental Group. I was hospitalized and suffered nerve complications and pain that lasted almost a year due to a sub-standard and incomplete RCT.

    Subsequently, I filed four certified medical records requests and my wife issued two checks for payment to release my remaining records: Diagnosis, Prognosis, Treatment Plan and Billing Claim but Dr. Bugman and the owner of the clinic Dr Azim Zadeh failed to release the above to date.

    I filed disciplinary and administrative complaints with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation and the Office of the Attorney General regarding falsification and withholding of patient’s medical records, abandonment, misrepresentation, health care fraud and others. However the IDPR and the Office of Atty Gen. Liza Madigan closed my case absent those records and deprived me of an opportunity to present my evidence and testimony vital to the case.

    After filing the initial disciplinary complaint my family received two death threats and two weeks after the second complaint I was assaulted by two unidentified male suspects in front of my apartment unit located one block from the Chicago First District Police. I was able to report the incident and secured a police report.

    I detected suspect’s car a Red SUV (Plate# 928-95-72). And last April 16, 2010 one of the suspects followed me inside Jewels at Rosevelt/ State location and immediately reported the matter to the Store security manager and to the CPD First District but the duty police officer told me that they could not apprehend and investigate the incident because “There Is No Crime Being Committed.” Last April 20, 2010, I personally reported the matter to the F.B.I. Chicago office and was assured to investigate my complaint but to date I did not receive any response.

    As a matter of public policy, I believe that the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, Attorney General Office and our Law Enforcement Agencies are legally mandated to investigate unethical, fraudulent and criminal reported complaints by patient and law abiding citizen. I also believe that the dental community should also conduct separate ethical and quality of care investigation to sanction erring dentist.

    A patient should not suffer like this.

  • Raymond Prudente

    My treating dentist, Dr. Bugman and her lawyer Michael Thomas certified under oath to release my remaining medical records:

    Denise M. Mills, CSR No. 84-4450, Notary Public, Cook County, Illinois.

    Atty. Thomas: I’ll tell you what the record consist of. There are two hand written pages of progress notes. There is a prognosis and treatment plan form. Copy of bills submitted to the insurance company– Blue Cross. Letter from Mr. Prudente, handwritten, asking her–asking Dr. Bugman for her records. There’s a request from the Illinois State Dental Society for records. That’s the file in its entirety, and we will make copies and send it to them.

    Atty DeCoster: I can’t speak to that. I can say most of that didn’t make it into the file to me.

    I am appealing to Dr. Bugman, Dr. Azim and their lawyers to release my remaining records. Those records were requested prior and after the filing of the lawsuit. My right to access and obtain those records has nothing to do with the dismissal of the case. Opposing counsels knew that during the dismissal hearing I was not legally represented and the fourth Judge who presided failed to accept my evidence in compliance with Illinois Supreme Court Discovery Rule 213 (f). As indicated, I disclosed the identity and opinion of my expert witness and paid $300.00 for his medical report. However, defendant answer to interrogatory pp. 14 indicated “Undetermined” the court was silent about this procedural tactical maneuvering and trial by ambush obviously employed by defendants.

    Furthermore, those remaining records claimed by Atty. Thomas as a separate records is false. My wife and my sister reviewed and detected that the records cannot be separated (SOAP) with respect to the two pages chart initially released by the clinic. Dr. Bugman’s chart dated August 19: “Patient requested copy of file and x-rays paid 20” And the Diagnostic X-rays (original) only released after the second request. The four certified mail receipts and the two checks issued by my wife will attest and support my claim. I waited almost three months to secure my billing records because my previous carrier is reluctant to release. The billing with respect to the original two pages chart were incomplete, persuasive, x-rays were not submitted and fraudulent.

    Presently, the Department of Health Office For Civil Rights, Regional Office in Chicago is now investigating the matter.

    Our prayers to the family .R.I.P.

  • http://www.root-canal.biz/2011/02/teen-dead-from-root-canal-christopher-schutzius-dies-during-routine-dental-procedure/ Teen Dead From Root Canal: Christopher Schutzius Dies During Routine Dental Procedure | Root Canal

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