Posted: Nov 13, 2006 3:54 pm
Man died from infected tooth
AN ADELAIDE coroner has warned people not to neglect their dental health after
finding that a simple infected tooth led to the death of a man four years ago.
South Australian coroner Mark Johns also criticised the treatment of 27-year-old
Daniel Salmon who died from complications following a molar extraction in
Mr Johns criticised Adelaide's Queen Elizabeth Hospital for not properly
transferring Mr Salmon to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, instead allowing the
man's mother to drive him in a private car.
That meant no hospital notes accompanied the patient even though his condition
had deteriorated after he went to Queen Elizabeth with discomfort and swelling
to his lower jaw.
"In my view this is a serious deficiency for which the Queen Elizabeth Hospital
must bear responsibility," the coroner said.
Mr Johns said that after having an abscess under his tongue incised and drained
at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Mr Salmon also had a breathing tube removed too
early, given he was suffering from Ludwig's angina, a bacterial infection that
could result in respiratory obstruction.
He said it was this action that killed Mr Salmon after he collapsed with
breathing difficulties and could not be resuscitated.
The coroner said while Mr Salmon's death was extremely tragic it showed the
dangers of ignoring the signs of dental infection over a prolonged period.
"Earlier dental treatment of his infected tooth may have prevented the
deterioration of his condition to the point where the infection process from
which he eventually suffered gained a foothold," Mr Johns said.
"I am unable to express a view as to the cause of Mr Salmon's delay in seeking
"It may be that he was unable to afford private treatment and was reliant on the
public dental system."