Capitol Alert

Senate committee to discuss study on dental anesthesia rules for children

Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, during session in the Senate chamber on March 11, 2013.
Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, during session in the Senate chamber on March 11, 2013. hamezcua@sacbee.com

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The state Legislature last year passed “Caleb’s Law,” a bill named in memory of a 6-year-old boy whose death led lawmakers to question dental anesthesia practices on children.

Caleb Sears’ family lobbied lawmakers to pass a law requiring a second person who specializes in anesthesiology to join a surgeon in the room during oral surgeries, similar to practices in hospitals, according to story published by CALmatters last August.

The dental industry pushed back. The final watered down version of the law calls on dentists to keep better records when patients die and mandated a study into California’s dental anesthesia rules for children. Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, also called on the state to conduct a study into the practice.

A review of California’s pediatric dental anesthesia regulations compared to other states, conducted by the Dental Board of California, is the focus of a Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development committee hearing today at 3 p.m. in room 3191 of the state Capitol. Hill chairs the committee.

Based on its findings, the board recommends that a second staff member trained in monitoring and resuscitating pediatric patients participate in the procedures along with a surgeon.

The agenda for the hearing is stacked with representatives from dental, anesthesiology and pediatric associations. A consultant working with the Sears family said Caleb’s parents intend to speak, too.

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Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna

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