A Long Beach doctor was negligent in his treatment of a patient who died after she started having trouble breathing while under anesthesia for dental surgery, according to state regulators.
In November, the California Medical Board put Dr. David Hwan Kim on three years of probation, meaning he could lose his physician’s license completely if he doesn’t meet certain criteria during that time period.
Kim is an oral surgeon with an office in Lakewood Village. Kim’s office manager said the doctor declined to comment on Wednesday.
The discipline stems from a May 2, 2014, operation Kim performed on a 56-year-old woman who came in to have the roots of three teeth removed so she could get a dental implant, according to a settlement agreement between the medical board and Kim.
After being put under, the woman started having respiratory issues and eventually suffered a severe lack of oxygen to her brain, according to the document.
Kim tried to perform a tracheotomy, which involved putting a tube through her throat to get the woman air, but after paramedics took her to the hospital, a doctor discovered the tube had been misplaced, the agreement says.
The woman never regained consciousness and her family took her off life-support about three weeks after the botched surgery, according to the settlement documents.
State regulators wrote that Kim should have suggested local instead of general anesthesia, particularly because the woman had a restrictive airway that could be difficult to manage while she was under.
She also had a history of hypertension and a condition that causes shortness of breath when lying down, according to medical board documents.
Kim should have been prepared for any problems that arose and should have cleared the use of general anesthesia with the woman’s doctor, regulators wrote.
As part of his probation, Kim will be supervised by another physician, have to attend training courses and meet a series of other benchmarks to have his license fully reinstated.
Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.
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