Teen dies af­ter den­tal surgery com­pli­ca­tions

5 peo­ple re­ceive or­gans of stu­dent who wrote of faith, ser­vice

The Dallas Morning News - - METRO & STATE - By NI­COLE COBLER Staff Writer ni­cole.cobler@dal­las­news.com

A Lake High­lands High School stu­dent died Thurs­day, about a week af­ter he went un­der anes­the­sia for den­tal surgery and never woke up.

Austin Silva, 17, was one of mil­lions of peo­ple who head to the den­tist each year to have their wis­dom teeth re­moved, but his body did not re­spond well to the anes­the­sia drugs, ac­cord­ing to a blog post from his church.

In a Face­book post Thurs­day, Silva’s fa­ther wrote that his son would not re­cover from com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing the surgery.

“Af­ter nine days here at Chil­dren’s Med­i­cal, Austin’s jour­ney with us is near its end . ... The na­ture of Austin’s brain in­jury has ended up be­ing so se­vere that re­cov­ery is sim­ply not pos­si­ble, and we ex­pect him to pass away im­mi­nently,” David Silva wrote, ad­ding that the the fam­ily would do­nate the teen’s or­gans. “Pray for the fam­i­lies that will ben­e­fit from his or­gans in the com­ing days.”

“His en­tire fam­ily is dev­as­tated by this loss, but they take com­fort in the joy he brought to our lives and our hope that rests that Austin is home with his Lord,” Silva’s obit­u­ary said. “We are also thank­ful that Austin’s or­gans were able to help five more peo­ple con­tinue life.

It’s un­clear where the June 6 surgery was per­formed, but Silva was taken to Chil­dren’s Med­i­cal Cen­ter Dal­las and died there Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to the Dal­las County med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s of­fice. The cause of his death is pend­ing.

Todd Wag­ner, a pas­tor at Watermark Church, has posted reg­u­lar up­dates about Silva’s con­di­tion since his surgery. Wag­ner shared a photo Tues­day of a page in Silva’s jour­nal writ­ten just hours be­fore he went to the den­tist.

“The Lord will take care of me,” Silva wrote.

Since then, Silva’s friends have come to­gether to pray at the church. Neigh­bors also wrapped white rib­bons around trees in the neigh­bor­hood in sup­port of the fam­ily. Friends, church mem­bers and fam­ily have taken to Face­book to call for prayers and share Silva’s re­cent tes­ti­mony for Watermark.

He con­tin­ued that although he grew up as a Chris­tian, he never needed to rely on God. He be­gan to re­al­ize that some­thing needed

to change, ad­ding that work­ing as a coun­selor at Camp Barn­abas, a Chris­tian camp for peo­ple with spe­cial needs, helped him be “com­pletely self­less and fo­cus on the needs of some­one else.”

A spokesman for Richard­son ISD said the dis­trict no­ti­fied Lake High­lands High School stu­dents Tues­day to direct them to Watermark Church for coun­sel­ing and grief ser­vices. Richard­son ISD will also have grief coun­selors avail­able to talk to stu­dents Thurs­day in the Lake High­lands High School li­brary.

“Austin was a tremen­dous young man, a big part of our Wild­cat fam­ily, and will be greatly missed,” Chris Choat, as­so­ci­ate prin­ci­pal of the high school, said in a writ­ten state­ment about the Lake High­lands se­nior.

Cases like Silva’s are all too fa­mil­iar. A first-of-its-kind es­ti­mate by The Dal­las Morn­ing News in De­cem­ber 2015 found that a den­tal pa­tient dies about ev­ery other day in Amer­ica.

The 2015 re­port found that many state gov­ern­ments fail to keep mean­ing­ful statis­tics, but since 2010, Texas has re­ceived at least 85 death re­ports. For ev­ery Texas den­tal pa­tient who died, about six more were hos­pi­tal­ized and sur­vived.

AUSTIN SILVA

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