Written By: Lorraine Perez
On Friday, April 6, 2012, NBC’s Today Show will publish the long awaited story of Jenny Olenick online.
Jenny Olenick went to Dr. Domenick Coletti’s office on March 28, 2011 for the removal of four fully impacted wisdom teeth and never returned home. Her parents filed a civil law suit claiming Dr. Domenick Coletti and anesthesiologist, Dr. Krista Michelle, were negligent and failed to resuscitate the 17-year-old after her heart rate and blood oxygen level dropped.
“It’s so hard,” Cathy Garger, Olenick’s mother, told ABCNews.com. “She was the only one we had.”
“Something should have been done at the first sign of the emergency happening,”said Nicole Cunha, a family friend and executive director of the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation — a non-profit group dedicated to protecting pediatric dental patients. “If they hadn’t waited so long, Jenny would still be here.”
Her parents selected what on paper appeared to be an elite team. Unfortunately, despite the fact the surgery was performed by a Shock Trauma trained MD and a Harvard Graduate anesthesiologist as well as an ACLS certified RN and a dental assistant, Jenny went into cardiac arrest after the first tooth extraction. Although the facility was state-of-the-art and was well equipped with the appropriate medication and the appropriate equipment Jenny was instead revived by paramedics and taken to the local hospital. Jenny was then air-lifted to the John Hopkins Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. It was then that she was diagnosed with hypoxia which is a shortage of oxygen to the brain as well as with brain swelling that resulted in severe brain damage. She subsequently went into a coma and on April 6 was pronounced dead…only nine days later. Today marks the one year anniversary of Jenny Olenick’s death.
The questions the parents of Jenny Olenick and RMBF, Inc. want to know are:
- What link was missing? (Six Links of Survival ™)
- How could a procedure that is supposed to be routine result in the death of a beautiful and lively 17 years old girl?
- What happened in that room?
- How could the people who were present not know that Jenny’s oxygen levels were declining?
Jenny, a junior at Marriotts Ridge High School in Woodstock, MD was a budding performing and recording artist with a sweet soprano voice. Jenny participated in several choruses and played both the guitar and piano. She loved performing in musicals and had begun a disciplined focus on building a career in music. Last summer Jenny had toured in Canada with Maryland Sings, and was looking forward to attending vocal workshops over the summer at the Berklee College of Music. In addition to her passion for music, Jenny was an honor student and a high ranked member of the Girl Scouts. The focus of her Gold Award was to culminate in teaching younger students to sing at camp. Jenny, gifted with a charitable heart, enjoyed participating in service projects and was looking forward to building homes for the indigent in South America.
Now, those dreams are just those…dreams.
RMBF, Inc.’s mission is to speak and stand on behalf of children such as Jenny and many others…raising resources in order to best serve and protect these young flames.
The primary focus is dental pediatric patients and the primary means is medical emergency preparedness. Through education and action, RMBF Inc. seeks to keep children healthy and smiling. A routine procedure can end in complete trauma similar to the one Jenny suffered. .
We are driven to providing preventative education based on medical emergency preparedness. Without this awareness and action, young lives are continually at risk and the integrity of the entire dental community is threatened.
Six Links of Survival ™, was developed by the Institute of Medical Emergency Preparedness, as a convenient mechanism for dental offices to ensure that all areas of appropriate preparation are adequately covered.
The average response time for emergency medical services (EMS) to respond to a 911 call can be 11 minutes in an urban setting and 15 minutes in a rural setting. These times were based on the primary EMS unit being available and not already responding to another call, necessitating an alternate squad being dispatched. Consequently, dental offices should be prepared to manage a medical crisis for up to 30 minutes without outside assistance. Six Links of Survival ™ is a checklist of the educational needs and physical items necessary to fulfill the needs of a dental patient in that time period between the identification of a medical problem and the arrival of outside assistance.
According to the American Heart Association:
“Airway Management is a unique program designed to give students the chance to learn, practice and demonstrate their ability in applying many airway skills used in resuscitation. Students increase their awareness of various airway products and skills required.”
Did they perform Mock Drills? Did they have an Emergency Response System in place? Clearly the staff was well trained, so the first two links were met and the last two links were met.
Airway Management is something that needs to come to the fore front of training. Your dentist should be able to breath for you if you cannot!