Lawyers battle over whether dental procedure was necessary for child who died

UPDATE : A Travis County District Judge has denied the motion to dismiss the case against the forensic dentist, Dr. Robert Williams, who commented on the autopsy report that he saw no signs of dental disease.

Lawyers for Austin Children's Denistry said Williams is not a pediatric dentist and didn't have the training necessary to judge whether Daisy Lynn had evidence of dental disease.



Wednesday, lawyers argued in district court about whether a 14-month-old who died after a dental procedure in North Austin actually needed dental work done.

A medical examiner's report said Daisy Lynn Torres died due to complications of anesthesia, but part of the report has led to a defamation lawsuit against a forensic dentist.

Wednesday, lawyers for that forensic dentist tried to get the case dismissed. They said a medical opinion shouldn't be subject to a defamation suit. 

Forensic dentist Dr. Robert Williams wrote that he found no evidence of dental disease in the medical examiner's report.

According to the report, Daisy Lynn was having crowns put on four of her baby teeth and fillings in two when she went into cardiac arrest. The ME said complications from the anesthesia caused her death.

Daisy Lynn’s parents now believe the whole procedure was a case of Medicaid fraud, but lawyers for Austin Children's Dentistry said it was a necessary dental surgery.
Lawyers for ACD said Williams is not a pediatric dentist and didn't have the training necessary to judge whether Daisy Lynn had evidence of dental disease.
They claim four pediatric dentists all agreed there were at least three teeth showing decay in her most recent radiograph, but Williams’ attorney said they consulted a second forensic dentist who also saw no signs of dental disease.

Lawyers for ACD told 250th District Judge Karin Crump that Williams emailed the ME saying he believed this was Medicaid fraud before even looking at the case files or radiographs.
In the second email sent after his report came out, Williams allegedly admitted he was wrong about not finding dental disease and agreed to re-file the report. Williams' lawyers said he only sent that email because ACD had threatened to sue him. The report was never changed to say there was any dental disease present.

Because of the ME's report, ACD fired Dr. Michael Melanson, the dentist operating on Daisy Lynn. On top of the effect on his career, ACD's CEO said the business lost $400,000 worth of revenue this year.

A judge has not sided with either party at this point.

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