SAN DIEGO -- Getting wisdom teeth removed is considered a routine, minor surgery for almost all young people these days. That's why the family of Marek Lapinski, 25, thought nothing of it when he went to have the procedure done.
Instead, their young son, a tech company VP and former football player, died on March 21 during the procedure, KTLA reports. The operation was conducted by Dr. Steven Paul, an oral surgeon in Temecula, Calif., who has declined to comment.
The ambulance report showed Lapinski began to cough during the surgery, FOX reports. When he coughed they administered propofol and that's when he went into cardiac arrest, said his mother, April Lapinski.
He was immediately taken to the hospital, where he died. His sister, Natalie Lapinski, who is a nurse, told FOX that in examining Marek's medical records, she found her brother was given at least six different sedatives by the surgeon.
"The pulmonary doctor at the hospital told me it looked like an overdose to him," said Marek's mother. "He had no health issues we were aware of. This was very strange and unexpected."
The ambulance report also noted a piece of gauze was found in Marek's airway.
"I was told by the hospital they weren't sure if this was all caused from him choking on a piece of gauze," his mother said to FOX. "Somebody was not paying attention at some point."
Lapinski's former coaches and teammates are mourning his shocking death. Lapinski graduated from North Allegheny High School in 2007 and from Duquesne University in 2010.
"Marek was an outstanding young man," said North Allegheny Athletic Director Bob Bozzuto told Patch. "He was a 2 year captain that played fullback and linebacker for us. A truly sad story."
Lapinski, originally from Pittsburgh, was a four-year starter on the football team at Duquesne. He got his bachelor's degree in business administration with a double major in finance and investment management, according to his company's web site.
The young man helped start the company Total 3rd Dimension, or T-3D, an advanced technology used for military vehicles. He was vice president of finance and business strategy.
"It's really hard to deal with," Jerry Schmitt, the coach of Duquesne University football who coached Lapinski, told CBS.
"The guys, the coaches, and the older players and our grad assistants that played with him -- to understand he had a great future ahead of him, really worked hard in the classroom to put himself in that position, so it's a really tough situation to grasp and understand."
Unfortunately, Lapinski isn't the first to die during the oral surgery. Last year, 17-year-old Jenny Olenick died when her heart rate and blood oxygen dropped to fatally low levels during the surgery. Also last year, 14-year-old Ben Ellis died the day after undergoing the same surgery
The deaths prompt a controversial debate about whether the procedure is often unnecessary.
In 2010, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon released the report confirming "what dentists and health professionals have been telling patients for years: having your wisdom teeth removed while you are young helps you stay healthy."
However doctors from The Cochrane Collaboration, an organization that reviews medical research, say a better approach might be "watchful monitoring" instead of jumping into surgery.
According to Jezebel, dental consultant Jay Friedman wrote in the American Journal of Public Health that:
Third-molar surgery is a multibillion-dollar industry that generates significant income for the dental profession. It is driven by misinformation and myths that have been exposed before but that continue to be promulgated by the profession. At least two thirds of these extractions, associated costs, and injuries are unnecessary, constituting a silent epidemic of [physician-induced] injury that afflicts tens of thousands of people with lifelong discomfort and disability.