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