A 19-year-old Tonganoxie man who suffered brain damage during a dental procedure in Lawrence has filed a lawsuit seeking damages.
The suit was filed in Douglas County District Court on behalf of Austin Stone.
“We spent a lot of time monitoring Austin’s progress and gathering those medical records and trying to assess what his long-term situation’s going to be,” said Kirk Goza, an attorney for the Stone family. “The petition is really the start of the litigation.”
The lawsuit alleges that oxygen and nitrous oxide lines were crossed during design and construction of Dr. Kirk Vincent’s office at 4811 Bob Billings Parkway. It also alleges the city, during inspections of the office, should have caught the problem.
“Fair to say that we think this is a tragedy that was avoidable and that should not have occurred,” Goza said. “Who in all of this had certain responsibilities to take certain actions is what we are going to try to determine in some of these details.”
The suit seeks compensation from:
• Lawrence oral surgeon Kirk Vincent.
• Action Plumbing of Lawrence, which installed the medical gas lines.
• Patterson Dental Supply Inc., Topeka.
• Blanchard Design Group LLC, Lawrence, the architect on the project.
• Design Build Collaborative LLC, Lawrence, the general contractor on the project.
• Hoss & Brown Inc., Lawrence, the mechanical engineers on the project.
• The city of Lawrence.
Stone visited Vincent’s office to have four wisdom teeth removed on March 30, 2009.
The lawsuit alleges that:
During that visit, Vincent tried to sedate Stone with what he believed was a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. But Stone didn’t become sedated. The doctor administered Fentanyl and Diazepam, and then Propofol.
At that point, Stone’s heart rate decreased, and Vincent administered what he thought was 100 percent oxygen. In fact, it was pure nitrous oxide.
Stone eventually stopped breathing, and emergency medical workers were called. At Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Stone received a diagnosis of brain damage because of oxygen deprivation.
Today, Stone is walking with help from a cane. He’s legally blind and has a hard time hearing as well as moving around. Stone is in his first year of school at the Kansas State School for the Blind in Kansas City, Kan. In an interview with the Journal-World last week, Stone says he is working to move forward from his devastating injury.
“What I would like to do now is take some speaking classes and try to become a motivational speaker,” Stone said.
The lawsuit seeks damages for medical expenses, upcoming medical care, as well as previous and future expenses for his guardians, Tara Passmore and Lance Stone.
While the lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $75,000 in each of the 12 counts, no exact amount of damages is outlined in the suit.
Goza believes the deposition process will take about three months to complete.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial.