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Family Sues Dental Clinic Over Death of Boy

March 11, 1998|HOPE HAMASHIGE

Claiming that negligence led to Javier Villa Jr.'s death, the family of the 4-year-old, who died after a routine visit to the dentist, has filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court against the dental clinic's owner and staff.

Villa was rushed to a hospital Aug. 4 after a dental hygienist at Megdal Dental Care Clinic in Santa Ana noticed the boy had stopped breathing. He died later that day.

The family claims staff members were negligent because they did not put a towel under the boy's neck to keep his airway open. He was sedated before the dentist filled several cavities.

The suit also alleges that the staff altered records and withheld evidence to cover up its mistakes.

A coroner's report on the death was completed last month and forwarded to Santa Ana police, who have declined to comment on its contents. In addition, the state Board of Dental Examiners is investigating.

The suit names Dr. Philip Megdal, director of Megdal Dental Care Inc.; Dr. Miguel Garcia; Dr. Gabriella Thanh-Ngoc Pham; and dental assistant Alejandra Juarez as defendants. No damages were specified.

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