Austin, Texas – 14 month old toddler, Daisy Lynn Torres, died March 29, 2016 after visiting Austin Children’s Dentistry in what spokesperson, Sarah Marshall, says was a “fairly routine” procedure that required anesthetics.
As pale and frightened as Marshall looked on camera, I suspect she was scared to death to actuall “speak”. Marshall also said, they have been in business for 40 years! Really? She also told KVUE-TV “these types of procedures are done all the time”. Really?
I wonder if the routine part actually means that their office routinely sedates children unnecessarily for unnecessary procedures in order to bilk Medicaid or other insurance. Let’s face it, we are talking Texas here, right?
According to Daisy’s mom—as reported in a follow-up report by KVUE-TV—Daisy was only supposed to have two cavities fixed, then about 15 minutes into the procedure, they came and told Daisy’s mom they were going to go ahead and do 6—4 stainless steel crowns on top, and 2 on the bottom.
Daisy’s mom told KVUE reporter Kris Betts, about 10 minutes later, the dentist returned saying Daisy was having a “difficult time”. After taking her mom back to see her, they assured her mom that she was fine. Shortly thereafter, an ambulance was called. The ambulance took Daisy to North Austin Medical Center. Her mother followed the ambulance to the hospital. Upon arriving she was told Daisy was already brain dead.
So what happened?
Over sedated? Strapped in a restraint? Deprived on Oxygen? No Advanced Life Saving procedures in place? What about an AED handy?
What about the dentists? Did they attend one of the, what I call, drive-thru sedation courses offered by places like DOCS? These 3 day course are offer at various locations across the country to teach dentists how sedate patients and touted to vastly increase profits for dentists. Scary, thought isn’t it? 3 days!
What I find not a coincidence is, right next door to Austin Children’s Dentistry, is Austin Family Orthodontics, operated by Dr. Brian J. Peters. Upon further checking, there are four Austin Family Orthodontic clinics in and around Austin, and they all seem to be located near 4 out of the 6 locations of Austin Children’s Dentistry.
Checking Yelp, this place has complaints that I find disturbing:
3/30/2016 Why would someone want to put their child under for no reason. My son had a baby tooth come in that did not form right and developed a cavity. I went to this dentist and they wanted to put a crown on and strap him in and sedate him. I heard children screaming and parents were not allowed back there. I said hell no. We found a dentist in Cedar Park who looked at the tooth and put a filling in it without sedating him and said he didn't need a crown because the tooth is a baby tooth and will fall out. He was 2 years old at the time. He said don't come back until he looses his first tooth.
9/30/2015 It's so crammed in the treatment area, I felt like I was risking tripping over someone when I went over to check on my kids. Whatever, they're trying to maximize space. Everyone was nice enough, although one of the front desk ladies apparently was rude to my ex over the phone when he was trying to understand why we had an outstanding balance (from the Leander location). I find out my girl has a cavity (grrrr!) and the only plan they offer is to completely knock her out to fill it. Um, what? Excuse me? She's had several filled previously with laughing gas and a movie, no problem. I tried to tell them this, and was told no, this is the way the dr does it, period, no negotiations. You're going to put my child, who medicates horribly, under heavy sedation right off the bat without listening to the parents for the dr's convenience? At that point the deal was sealed, nope. We had her re-evaluated at the Leander location where they found a second cavity and are taking care of both without putting her out.
8/1/2015 I feel that the office staff is what is terrible. My son went to an appointment and I have no complaints about Dr Allen, or the staff that treated him. The office and staff were nothing impressive.
However, after getting an email confirmation only for my son, I called to make sure they also had my daughter appointment (both which were scheduled months ago). I was told that they've been having problems with the email reminders and that they did not have that appointment time available anymore. They could only assist me in rescheduling. Although the lady was not rude, she was not very willing to hear me out or explain how they could loose my reservations. We ended up going to Kids Dental Smiles in Pflugerville and had a great experience. Glad we changed!
2/22/2013 BEWARE of Dr. Melanson!!!
The manner in which Dr. Melanson conducted my son's exam, and the way Dr. Melanson intimidated me into believing my three-year old son required TWO hour-long appointments of complete sedation made me feel very uneasy. My son suffers from asthma; sedation can be FATAL for children with asthma.
During the exam, they separated my son from me, and did not allow me to sit with him. (I was sitting with my two-year-old daughter in a different room for her exam).
After my son's exam, Dr. Melanson showed me x-rays of my son's teeth. I did not authorize anyone to take x-rays of my son's teeth! (I later found out from my new dentist, that the practice of taking x-rays on three-year olds is not a common procedure, nor does he recommend it).
My son's pediatrician was equally shocked at Dr. Melanson's request to sedate my son on two separate occasions. He told me he had heard multiple complaints regarding Austin Children's Dentistry on Hymeadow, and suggested I seek a second opinion from Dr. Danny Watts.
Dr. Watts saw NO reason to do ANYTHING to my son's teeth. He recommended I brush and floss his teeth regularly and return for his normal six-month check-up. Furthermore, Dr. Watts had a difficult time understanding why a dentist would recommend such drastic action for a three-year old's teeth.
9/23/2012 Please beware of Dr. Melanson's practices. He can be extremely intimidating and convincing. I am very grateful I sought a second opinion and did not put my son's life at risk.
Extremely mixed feeling about this place, I will probably return as soon as I can get my son's records. The weird thing about it is that the Dentists and Dental Assistance themselves provide excellent service. Dr. Diana, in particular, is excellent.. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the work itself. The Inflexible Office staff is the issue. The way they conduct the billing and scheduling part of the business is terrible and annoying. The ask you to pay deposits up front just to "reserve your appointment". They ask you to pay 100% up front for service even though you have insurance and will be reimbursed. I typically pay them 100%, then my insurance company has to send me a check since they do cover most of it.. Also, they don't seem to have any ability to estimate what my insurance company will pay or not. I work for Dell, so I don't have some obscure insurance company that nobody has every heard of. They send you an e-mail asking you to confirm your appointment and then they call you on top of it and ask you again. I told them I already confirmed I was coming and they say, oh, just ignore that.. Really? how about you just don't send it in the first place if it is useless. Honestly, the bad office staff and office practices overrules the great work the Dentist's do..
Update: I went back again and had to argue for 30 minutes not to pay everything upfront again. Sylvia, a lead person in the office, threatened to cancel my appointment if I didn't pay upfront.. She also told me 2 times that "there are plenty of pediatric dentists around".. Meaning she doesn't care about our business. All this while my 5-year old is awaiting treatment.. If I owned the Dentist office, Sylvia would be fired.
I find a lot about this chain of clinics disturbing, including the fact the clinics need a van. Why? Doesn’t take much to figure that one out.
A Youcaring Page has been set up to assist the family with expenses. I encourage everyone to donate a little something.