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5-Year-Old Girl Dies from Local Anesthesia Overdose at Urgent Care Clinic

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August 2, 2011

A coroner has found that an overdose of anesthesia caused the death little girl at an Atlanta area urgent care clinic.

ABC News reports that the parents of 5-year-old Kensley Kirby took her to the Family Medical Clinic in McDonough, GA in June after she fell and hurt her arm. In order to set a break in Kensley’s arm, the clinic staff administered the local anesthetic lidocaine. Kensley died during the procedure.

This week, the Henry County Coroner told investigative reporter Aaron Diamant of local WSBTV Channel 2 that someone at the Family Medical Clinic gave Kensley a lethal dose of the anesthetic.

Use of local anesthesia during a medical or dental procedure involves administration of an anesthetic drug such as lidocaine via injection, spray or ointment for numbing a specific area of the body. Anesthesia affects children differently than adults. They are not just smaller people, but have a different anatomy and metabolism. For this reason, many anesthesiologists receive specialized training or education in pediatric anesthesiology.

“Parents should be aware that local anesthetics can be toxic,” Dr. Mark Singleton, chair of the committee of pediatric anesthesia at the American Society of Anesthesiologists, told ABC News. “This applies to the dental office, as well as other surgeries. It is important to recognize that anesthesiologists take very special precautions to minimize the complications of toxicity from local anesthetics.”