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State health officials investigating Vancouver woman’s death after root canal

The Washington State Department of Health is investigating a report of the death of a Vancouver woman that occurred after she received treatment at Wright & Beatty Endodontics in Vancouver.

Julie Graham, a public information officer for DOH, said the investigation has been authorized as a priority, but she said there isn’t a known timeline for the investigation’s conclusion.

On Sept. 3, Cynthia Pheil, 64, received a root canal from Wright & Beatty Endodontics, 12500 S.E. Second Circle, Suite 135. About 30 minutes into the procedure, someone with Wright & Beatty noticed Pheil was unresponsive. Attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

According to dispatch logs, paramedics were called to Wright & Beatty’s offices at 2:49 p.m. Pheil was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, where she died Sept. 6.

A family member, who requested anonymity, filed a complaint with DOH on Sept. 9, and it was assigned for a hearing with the Department of Health’s Dental Quality Assurance Commission for Sept. 13.

After the hearing on Friday, the Dental Commission decided the case warranted an investigation. The Dental Commission generally reviews medical charts, interviews involved parties, considers professional standards, and examines the circumstances of the case during an investigation, Graham said.

But she also explained that “every investigation is unique.”

Graham can’t discuss or confirm details of the case while it is under investigation because the DOH feels that could jeopardize the investigation, she said. Anne D. Foster, an attorney with Portland-based Dunn Carney law firm, represents Wright & Beatty. She also declined to comment on any aspects of the investigation, citing patient-doctor confidentiality laws.


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