The parents of a 13-year-old Elyria girl who died during a dental procedure in January 2011 are suing several people who they believe are responsible for their child’s wrongful death.
In a lawsuit filed by Amber McEwen and Jason Kingery in Lorain County Common Pleas Court, the family is suing Cigna Corp., Cigna Dental Health of Ohio Inc., Mercy Regional Medical Center, NES Healthcare Group and Dr. Gilbert Palmer, alleging that each of the parties’ failure to act caused the death of 13-year-old Marissa Kingery.
Kingery was receiving dental surgery from Lorain dentist Dr. Henry Mazorow on Dec. 21, 2010, when she had to be rushed to Mercy Regional Medical Center for complications.
Kingery was having two baby teeth removed by the 80-year-old doctor when she was transferred to Mercy, where court records state she “never regained consciousness.” She died, Jan. 3, 2011, two weeks after the procedure.
The family is alleging that Palmer, a doctor in charge of Kingery’s care, did not do enough to save Kingery.
According to the lawsuit, Mercy Regional Medical Center and Palmer “fell below the accepted standards of medical care,” and as a direct result, Marissa Kingery died.
The family also alleges that Cigna Corp. that provided dental insurance through McEwen’s dental plan, was negligent for failing to hold Mazorow accountable for certain medical standards.
The Cuyahoga County coroner’s ruling determined that Marissa Kingery died of complications associated with intravenous sedation during the surgery by Mazorow. Marissa Kingery had been without oxygen, damaging her brain, because of the complications.
Marissa Kingery’s parents alleged that Mazorow, who had a contract with Cigna to provide dental services, did not meet “industry standards for quality medical care and dental care” that Cigna had advertised.
The lawsuit states that Mazorow was chosen to complete the surgery because he was the closest oral surgeon listed as a Cigna Dental Plan approved oral surgeon. The lawsuit says that the next closest surgeon approved by Cigna that was still in business or available to see was approximately 20 miles away in an adjoining county.
The parents allege Cigna had the ability to influence Mazorow’s operations, and that the company “advertised and promoted the fact that they did on site dental facility assessments of each network dentist’s office to ensure it continued to meet Cigna’s customer service and quality expectations.”
The lawsuit states, “(Cigna) negligently breached its duty to exercise ordinary and reasonable care when making and/or controlling network provider decisions by allowing Mazorow to continue in its approved network for treatment of pediatric dental surgical cases.”
The death of Marissa Kingery was not the first death under Mazorow’s care.
In 1997, a 67-year-old woman also died in Mazorow’s care after having six teeth removed. A lawsuit filed by the victim’s husband contended that Mazorow did not have a continuous EKG, which would have detected the woman’s arrhythmia, or a defibrillator, which the suit contended could have saved her life.
Two expert witnesses for her family, an oral surgeon and an anesthesiologist, supported the contention that Mazorow violated certain standards of care, according to court documents.
McEwen and Jason Kingery are suing for an amount in excess of $25,000 in compensatory damages, further punitive damages and interest, costs and reasonable attorney fees.
The two have already received nearly $1 million in a settlement from Mazorow’s insurance company in October 2011 for their daughter’s death.
Mazorow has since retired.
Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.