Allergic reaction ‘not likely’ in death of toddler after dental procedure

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The autopsy report for Daisy Lynn Torres, the 14-month-old girl who died after a dental procedure on March 29, was released Thursday.

The medical examiner determined the death was anesthesia-related. The report also explores multiple possibilities for why anesthesia likely caused Daisy Lynn’s death. Investigators found no evidence of injury or natural disease. The examiner also looked into the possibility of an allergy to the anesthetics. However, the report notes little evidence that an allergic reaction killed Daisy Lynn.

“Perhaps the most likely possibility for the cause of death in this case is a severe manifestation of the known physiologic responses to the anesthetics given,” the autopsy states.

The report makes clear that the medical examiner does not believe the child “overdosed” on the drugs used for anesthesia. The report states she likely died “from a severe idiosyncratic reaction to the known effects of the anesthetics given.”

The report also ruled out the dental work itself as the cause of Daisy Lynn’s death.

“There were no injuries or any other associated findings to suggest that the dental procedure itself contributed to or caused the death,” the autopsy report states.

KXAN News is seeking additional clarification from the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office and outside experts about a portion of the autopsy that outlines an apparent difference in opinions when determining the manner of death.

“Clinical diagnosis of natural disease, to include dental disease, is a matter of both objective data and subjective professional expert opinion, and in this case there are differing expert opinions between the dentist who treated the patient and the consulting forensic odontologist as to whether or not the disease process for which the dental procedure was being performed was actually present; therefore, the manner of death is classified as undetermined,” the report notes.

Sarah Marshall, a spokesperson for Austin Children’s Dentistry, says the office stopped office-based general anesthesia after Daisy Lynn’s death. The practice has not decided whether it will resume offering that kind of sedation. The spokesperson also points to the autopsy’s finding that the dental work itself was not the cause of Daisy Lynn’s death.

Jason Ray, attorney for the treating dentist at Austin Children’s Dentistry, released the following statement:

“The ME’s report confirms what the dentist has believed all along:  Daisy’s death was an anesthesia event, not a dental issue.

The report reveals no surprises to us. By the time the forensic odontologist evaluated Daisy, all evidence of dental disease had already been removed by the dentist, as expected.  A treating dentist always has the advantage of pre-treatment visual exams, clinical findings, and x-rays on the patient; as well as knowing the patient’s dental history, unlike a forensic odontologist. The treating dentist in Daisy’s case will present all of the evidence that justified Daisy’s treatment if called on to do so.”

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