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TEMECULA, Calif. – Teri Biancardi of Temecula told Fox 5 she was furious after finding out her daughter was the next dental patient following the death of a San Diego entrepreneur.

The patient was 25-year-old Marek Lapinski.  Lapinski suffered a fatal heart attack during wisdom teeth surgery, he later died at the hospital.  Biancardi said what’s more disturbing was no one ever told her about Lapinski’s death.

“My heart stopped, my blood ran cold,” said Biancardi.  “I feel exploited, I feel rage, I feel that my daughter, we wound up gambling with her life.”

Biancardi said the gamble was with oral surgeon Dr. Steven Paul of Temecula.   On March 25, her daughter had her wisdom teeth taken out by Dr. Paul.

“The very doctor who operated on my daughter his last patient had died just the day before,” said Biancadi. “Nobody told me in that entire office, not the receptionist, two nurses and the doctor.”

“The surgeon does not really have an ethical obligation to tell that patient what happened,” said Dr. Lin, President-elect of the California Association of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Lin said under state codes of conduct, Dr. Paul likely submitted the Lapinski case to medical and dental boards.  He may not have been able to disclose any information.pic2

“He’s probably under a non-disclosure agreement. He probably can’t say anything or doesn’t have to say anything,” Dr. Lin said.

The Lapinski case is now under investigation and it’s one that’s struck the heart of the profession.

“We will have to take a hard look at the findings and try to learn from this tragic event,” said Dr. Lin.

“I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet,” said Biancardi.

Teri’s daughter is now on the road to recovery.  She understands non-disclosure laws, but she asks what about moral obligation.

“The doctor should have some obligation to disclose what’s transpired so we can make an informed consent.”

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SAN DIEGO – An oral surgeon and his procedure involving anesthetics were questioned Tuesday after a San Diego man allegedly died when he went to get his wisdom teeth extracted.

Fox 5 looked into the background of Dr. Steven Paul, the oral surgeon who administered the Mark Lapinski’s wisdom teeth procedure.  Dr. Steven Paul, dentist office

The state of Nevada shows Dr. Paul as a registered oral surgeon and has a permit to practice general anesthesia. He is in good standing with the state and has no formal complaints against him.

Fox 5 made second attempt to contact Dr. Paul Tuesday, after being told on Monday he was not available.

Marek LapinskiHis lawyer issued the following statement:

“Dr. Paul provides patients with state of the art services and monitoring for his patients…No surgical procedure is without risk… the circumstances regarding Mr. Lapinski’s complications are not completely understood.  What is understood is Mr. Lapinski’s complications occurred despite the fact there were no apparent contraindications for his oral surgery.”

Dr. Milder has practiced oral surgeries in San Diego for the past 20 years.  Milder could not comment on Marek Lapinski’s case, but said wisdom teeth extraction procedures are safe.

“In any surgery in any anesthesia there are risks involved,” said Dr. Milder. “In most cases with a young healthy patient, it’s a safe procedure.”

It was a procedure on March 21 that killed 25-year-old Lapinski, who was vice president and part-owner of Tactical 3D Dimension in San Diego.

The Lapinski family has raised questions over the dosage of Propofol administered during surgery.

Medical charts show Dr. Paul gave 43 milligrams to Lapinski when he began to cough.

Dr. Milder told Fox 5 when it comes to Propofol, there is no recommended dose.

“There’s not a specific dose that’s given that’s individualized per patient,” Dr. Milder said.

The family also claimed Marek was never properly monitored.  Records show he may have gone 10 minutes without oxygen.

Dr. Milder said surgeons must follow strict state and professional guidelines in monitoring patients.

“That would include a pulse-oxygenation to monitor the oxygenation, an EKG and also us in the room watching the patient visually,” Milder said, adding as with any procedure each patient is carefully evaluated for surgery. “We need to evaluate their medical history and make sure there aren’t any known risks.”

The results of Lapinski’s autopsy are pending.

SAN DIEGO – A San Diego entrepreneur died after a routine dental procedure in Temecula, his family said Monday.

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 10.16.06 PMMarek Lapinski, 25, died on March 21 when he underwent a procedure to extract two wisdom teeth.

Lapinski was the vice president and part owner of San Diego-based Tactical 3D Dimensions, company that develops software and hardware for night vision devices. Marek’s bright future was cut short after he went to see Dr. Steven Paul, an oral surgeon in Temecula, for wisdom teeth surgery.

Natalie Lapinski told Fox 5 that her brother had been nervous about the surgery in the first place.

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 10.15.52 PM“He was so scared to get this done,” she said. “That morning, he texted me and said ‘I’m going in.  I’ll call you when I’m out.’ I never heard from him again.”

Marek’s family provided Fox 5 with his medical records.  The ambulance report by American Medical Response showed Marek was undergoing surgery when he began to cough.

“When he coughed they administered propofol and that’s when he went into cardiac arrest,” his mother, April Lapinski, said.

He was immediately taken to the hospital, where he died.  The ambulance report also noted a piece of gauze was found in Marek’s airway.

“I was told by the hospital they weren’t sure if this was all caused from him choking on a piece of gauze,” she said. “Somebody was not paying attention at some point.”

Natalie Lapinski, who is a nurse, said in examining Marek’s medical records, she found her brother was given at least six different sedatives by the surgeon.


Marek and Natalie Lapinski

“In talking to the nurse at the hospital, from what they told me, he was given way too much anesthesia,” his sister said.

“The pulmonary doctor at the hospital told me it looked like an overdose to him,” said April Lapinski. “He had no health issues we were aware of. This was very strange and unexpected.”

Natalie Lapinski said in addition to the sedatives, she questions if her brother was properly monitored.

Medical records show instruments measured of Marek’s oxygen saturation levels every five minutes.  For the first 20 minutes of surgery, levels stayed at 99 percent.  At 25 minutes, there was no register.  At the last entry registered at 43 percent.

wisdom teeth death

Marek and April Lapinski

“He may have been without oxygen for 10 minutes,” his sister said.  “After a couple of minutes with no oxygen to your brain you just basically don’t have one anymore.  Those are just the facts.”

April Lapinski said Dr. Paul came to the hospital, but had no answers as to what happened.

Fox 5 visited the offices of Dr. Paul on Monday. We were told the doctor was in surgery and he would return our visit with a phone call.  The doctor never called.

The official cause of Marek’s death is pending an autopsy.  The Lapinski family said they plan to take legal action.

“This has just been our nightmare,” his mother said. “My family is having a really hard time with this.”