Sydney Galleger was only 17-years old when she passed away after complications occurred during the time she was undergoing surgery to have her wisdom teeth removed.


It was 2015 when Sydney Galleger went into Edina Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to have her wisdom teeth extracted. While this procedure would generally be considered a less invasive one, there are always potential risks when having any type of surgery performed. While certain complications can arise naturally, in this particular case, Paul Tompach, who was the surgeon working on Sydney, may not have been exercising the standard level of care which ultimately led to her death.

During the time Tompach was performing the extraction, Sydney went into cardiac arrest on June 9, 2015. She was taken to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital where she eventually died. The medical examiner reported that Sydney died from anoxic encephalopathy, which is brain damage from a lack of oxygen. She died on June 15, 2015.  Sydney was a swimmer, alpine skater, and was chosen as captain of the dive team for her senior year. She had a bright future ahead of her, but because the treating surgeon failed in more ways than one, she will never get the opportunity to live the life she set out to have.

As a result of Sydney’s death, her family decided to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court for their daughter’s wrongful death. The lawsuit alleged that Tompach:


  • Departed from accepted standards of medical practice by inappropriately administering general anesthesia.
  • Providing inadequate monitoring during the surgery.
  • Allowing untrained dental assistants to monitor Sydney.
  • Neglecting to plan for a possible medical emergency.
  • Failing to appropriately and quickly respond to the medical emergency and deciding not to advise Sydney and her parents of the risks associated with general anesthesia.


[Source: Eden Prairie News].


The case was expected to go to trial in May 2018 but has since reached a settlement which was approved on November 22, 2017. As a result, the family was recently awarded $1.279,600 and their Hennepin, MN medical malpractice lawyers received $740,000 for the costs associated with the legal representation they provided. The insurer that covered the family was paid $40,400 according to the order approving the distribution of wrongful death proceeds.

Tompach nor his attorney could be reached by the source for any comments.


How risky is it to have your wisdom teeth pulled?


The truth of the matter is that having your wisdom teeth removed is going to carry some risks with it. Some of these risks include suffering from:

  • Permanent nerve damage causing numbness of the tongue, lips or cheeks
  • Jaw and tooth fractures
  • Brain tissue infections
  • Life-threatening bleeding
  • Hypoxia


medical malpractice attorneys in Hennepin

When a medical mistake occurs and a patient’s health and well-being are compromised, this may be grounds for the victim to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

While oral surgeons remove approximately 10 million wisdom teeth per year, complications can arise when the procedure isn’t done correctly or the physician performing it fails to carry out their duties properly [Source: ABC News]. That’s exactly what happened in the case involving Sydney and Tompach.


And in the event you or a family member suffered an injury because a physician failed to perform a procedure properly or made a medical mistake, don’t hesitate to hire a Hennepin, MN medical malpractice lawyer. You may be entitled to collect compensation for your injuries with the right legal representative working beside you.