DENTAL HEALTH

Lawsuit claims toddler's fatal dental procedure was part of Medicaid billing scheme

Daisy Lynne Torres died during a dental procedure.

Daisy Lynne Torres died during a dental procedure.  (GoFundMe)

The family of a Texas toddler who died during a dentist appointment has filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that the procedure was unnecessarily performed as part of a money-making scheme. Daisy Lynne Torres died March 29, 2016, with authorities listing anesthesia administered for the treatment of tooth decay as the cause.

Betty Squier, Daisy’s mother, said that the dentist, Dr. Michael Melanson, informed her that her child had six cavities, which was four more than initially suspected, WDTN.com reported. Dr. David Williams, a mobile anesthesiologist with Texan Anesthesiology, reportedly was present for the procedure but did not tell Squier what it entailed.

A subsequent forensic dental examiner’s report questioned why Daisy underwent the procedure, as he found no indication of dental disease or pathology in X-rays from the March 29 visit, WDTN.com reported. The $1 million lawsuit names Austin Children’s Dentistry, Melanson, Williams and Texas Anesthesiology Association, and alleges the procedure was an attempt to bill Medicaid for unnecessary dental work.

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“He was committing fraud,” Squier told WDTN.com. “He was doing unnecessary work to her teeth that didn’t need to be done. He was taking advantage of a little girl. He was taking advantage of parents that didn’t know any better. We’re not doctors. We trust our medical professionals to tell us what would be the right thing to do for our children, and he completely took advantage of us.”