Teen dies after dental surgery complications
5 people receive organs of student who wrote of faith, service
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.