North Carolina dentist loses license, deemed ‘grave risk to the public’ after 2 patients die

HIGH POINT, N.C. — A dentist lost her license after two patients died, according to a Final Agency Decision report from the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners.

Shawana Neopi Patterson, who was first licensed in 2011, was an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at her practice Patterson Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in High Point.

In one instance, the report found that Patterson took little action when one patient turned "bluish-gray," and only called EMS for a second patient once she had no pulse.

The report revealed two cases in which patients provided medical histories that indicated they should have only undergone surgery under emergencies.

Nevertheless, Patterson disregarded those histories and conducted the surgery, administering "excessive" levels of sedatives and not taking proper action to prevent the patients from dying, the report said.

The board found the dentist responsible for acts of malpractice and negligence, and they determined the root cause was not a lack of training and that further training could not remediate her violations.

The board also reported that she "failed to demonstrate genuine remorse or accept full responsibility for her violations."

Patterson allegedly told employees to fake patient records to hide the violations and avoid responsibility.

"(Patterson) poses such a grave risk to the public in administering general anesthetics or sedation that she should be disqualified permanently from holding a general anesthesia permit or any level of sedation permit and prohibited from administering any level of sedation in North Carolina," the board wrote.

The board added that she poses a significant risk even beyond sedation.

Patterson's license was revoked as of Jan. 11, 2019.

N.C. Board of Dental Examiners findings regarding patient RG

In a health history form, the patient reported a history of high blood pressure, heart attack, cardiac pacemaker/defibrillator, bronchitis/chronic cough, diabetes and swollen ankles/arthritis/joint disease.

While this patient was an inappropriate candidate for this non-emergency surgery and anesthesia, the dentist proceeded on Nov. 9, 2017, even as the patient turned "bluish-gray" and his blood pressure dropped to dangerously low numbers.

About an hour and half after the surgery, the patient became diaphoretic and was unresponsive. That's when EMS was called in.

The dentist did not use an EKG, an automated external defibrillator or check the patients blood glucose level even when he did not wake up, according to the report.

The patient was still unresponsive when the High Point Fire Department arrived.

At the hospital, physicians determined the patient suffered cerebellar stroke or cerebrovacular accident, brainstem stroke syndrome, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and quadriparesis.

The patient died Feb. 11, 2018.

A treating physician at the hospital concluded Patterson caused or contributed to his death.

N.C. Board of Dental Examiners findings regarding patient DM

A patient came in to have multiple teeth extracted under anesthesia on March 28, 2018.

The patient reported a history of kidney trouble on dialysis, diabetes, swollen ankles, arthritis or joint disease, high blood pressure and anemia.

Due to this history, the dentist should have contacted the patient's physician and checked medical records which would have revealed serious medical issues, but did not.

Those records would have indicated that the patient was "an inappropriate candidate for anything but an emergency surgical procedure and was an inappropriate candidate for administration of any anesthesia outside of a hospital setting."

The patient already had hypertensive crisis-level blood pressure even before the surgery.

During the surgery, the patient's blood pressure and heart rate rose sharply and then dropped dramatically, indicating respiratory and cardiac arrest.

The dentist used basic life support measures but did not follow advanced cardiac life support procedures or use an AED.

The office called in EMS once the patient had no pulse.

EMS was able to get a pulse back, but lost it about 17 minutes later. They then got it back another 10 minutes later.

She died on April 1.

A treating physician at the hospital concluded Patterson caused or contributed to her death.

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