A criminal investigation is underway after authorities say an oral surgeon gave a Volo man an overdose of anesthesia and failed to properly monitor him during his tooth surgery in Gurnee, causing his death.
Corey Causey, 51, of Volo, was transported by ambulance to the hospital on June 9 after a dental procedure at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Of Lake County, 202 South Greenleaf Street in Gurnee.
Causey died the following day at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, according to Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek.
Causey was having a dental procedure to extract five of his teeth that was performed by Dr. Aaron Cwik.
Banek told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that Causey was given a single dose of 200 milligrams of the drug propofol, which Banek said was too much anesthesia.
“Under the dose that he was given, it would render a person unable to breathe,” Banek said.
Causey stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest during the procedure. Paramedics were called to the dental office and they transported him to the hospital where he died the following day.
Banek, who is also a certified registered nurse anesthetist, said that Causey should have been given a different anesthetic medication or a much smaller dose of propofol as Causey’s co-morbidities put him at higher anesthetic risk.
Cwik also did not set up all the necessary monitoring devices, like an EKG, on Causey during the procedure, Banek said. He was also not given supplemental oxygen from the start of the procedure.
Banek said there should have also been an additional specialist assisting during the surgery. She said it is important to have one person administer the anesthesia and another who does the oral procedure, not one person doing both jobs.
“[The oral surgeon] can bill for the anesthesia and the procedure, so there’s no incentive to bring in a separate anesthesia provider to focus solely on administering the anesthesia, while the oral surgeon focuses on performing the procedure,” Banek said.
Banek concluded that the dose of propofol given became life-threatening because of the size of the dose, Causey’s past medical history, the fact that he was not given supplemental oxygen from the start of the procedure, and because he was not properly monitored.
Banek called the entire situation a “recipe for disaster” and said, “there was a deviation in the standard of care.”
Causey, who was a veteran, leaves behind a wife and child.
Banek said the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has opened a criminal investigation into the case and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is also investigating.
A spokesperson for the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case.
Cwik still has an active dentist license and active dental sedation permit, according to a database maintained by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
The website for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Of Lake County still shows Cwik as being one of two dentists who work at their office.