Virginia, January 2, 2012: In an effort to keep dental professionals educated, prepared and trained when dental medical emergencies arise, Nicole Cuhna, the Executive Director of the Raven Marie Blanco Foundation (a 501C non-profit organization), has filed a petition with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Board of Dentistry. The foundation was started in response to death of Raven Maria Blanco during, what should had been, a routine dental procedure. The guidelines when filing a petition are as following,
The Code of Virginia (§ 2.2-4007) and the Public Participation Guidelines of this board require a person who wishes to petition the board to develop a new regulation or amend an existing regulation to provide certain information. Within 14 days of receiving a valid petition, the board will notify the petitioner and send a notice to the Register of Regulations identifying the petitioner, the nature of the request and the plan for responding to the petition. Following publication of the petition in the Register, a 21-day comment period will begin to allow written comment on the petition. Within 90 days after the comment period, the board will issue a written decision on the petition.
The Raven Marie Blanco Foundation contends that Part II of the Regulations Governing Dental Practice sets forth conditions for dentists seeking to renew a dental license. Included in this part are requirements for the payment of fees and requirements for continuing education. Although requirements elsewhere in the regulations govern the use of certain anesthetic agents, no requirements exist mandating that all dentists maintain an ability to respond appropriately to an unexpected medical emergency either resulting directly from treatment (dental and/or anesthesia) or as a random event (e.g. myocardial infarction, stroke ,hypoglycemia, seizure). This petition asks the Virginia Board of Dentistry to establish standards in this area through the addition of a new section.
At least twelve deaths have occurred during or immediately subsequent to dental treatment during the calendar years 2010-11. Precise numbers may be higher because the dental profession has no mechanism to quantify medical emergencies (fatal or non-fatal) occurring during treatment.
In the last ten years, Virginia has suffered two deaths in dental care facilities, Raven Maria Blanco (private office, Virginia Beach) and Jacobi Hill (Virginia Commonwealth University Dental School, Richmond). As such, Virginia has the highest per capita death rate during dental treatment of any state in the nation. How many non-lethal medical emergencies have occurred during dental care in Virginia has never been measured or studied.
Currently, the only medical emergency preparation required for all Virginia dentists is maintaining basic CPR. Given an aging population, with increasingly complex medical histories and receiving increasingly complex treatment, the current standard is insufficient. The Six Links of Survival™ was developed to provide dentists with a practical method to assure that dental offices are comprehensively prepared to manage a medical event. The six areas of preparation are:
4.Maintaining a written emergency plan
5.Stocking appropriate medications
6.Maintaining appropriate equipment (e.g. oxygen).
The Raven Maria Blanco Foundation and its advocates believe implementation of the Six Links of Survival™ in every dental office will provide a necessary stepping stone in saving the lives of dental patients.
The petition was accepted on January 6, 2012 will be published in the Register of Regulations on January 30, 2012 and has also been posted on the Virginia Regulatory Townhall at http://www.townhall.virginia.gov to receive public comment ending February 19, 2012. The request to amend regulations and any comments for or against the petition will be considered by the Board at its meeting scheduled for March 9, 2012. Sign the Petition Here!
For more information about the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, go to www.rmbfinc.org
See all those involved in the making of this video here.