Family wants answers after Murrieta man dies after surgery to remove wisdom teeth

Paramedic report: Gauze in Marek Lapinski's airway

TEMECULA, Calif. - The family of a Murrieta man who died after having oral surgery is demanding answers.

Marek Lapinski was a popular, athletic go-getter. He was a high-tech wizard who helped develop software to turn flat-screen night and thermal vision pictures into 3-D. The technology is a huge advance for those in combat.

However, Lapinski's promising life was cut short last month when he died after complications during oral surgery to remove his wisdom teeth.

In a patient care report, paramedics quoted Temecula oral surgeon Dr. Steven Paul as saying, "Pt [patient] began to wake up and cough during procedure and was given Propofol."

Tony Keiser, a friend of the Lapinski family, told 10News, "He gave him Propofol, which is, ironically enough, the same thing that killed Michael Jackson. It's all too much to get the mind around that a 24-year-old goes in for a dental procedure and leaves on a stretcher and never revives. It's just unfathomable, especially for this young man; just a wonderful, wonderful kid."

The paramedics reported the "Pt [patient] had surgical gauze in airway and two pieces were removed."

Lapinski died three days later. An autopsy is pending.

Lapinski had demonstrated the commercial application of the 3-D software for drivers and boaters, Total 3rd Dimension, last year in Pittsburgh.

"Imagine you were driving at night with no headlights and looking at a two-dimensional screen; it's basically like watching a black and white TV and trying to drive. It's very dangerous. Just like driving a vehicle; if there's heavy fog or rain, then the barge will stop; this allows boaters to see through limited visibility weather," Lapinski told a Pittsburgh TV station about the software.

The military version is Tactical 3rd Dimension. It could prove invaluable, especially for pilots.

Keiser said, "This would give them depth perception; keep them from doing things like flying helicopters into the sides of mountains or other obstructions; or soldiers from driving vehicles over cliffs and ditches because they had no depth perception."

Paul would not speak with 10News, instead he referred 10News to his attorney, Clark Hudson.

In a statement, Hudson said, "Dr. Steven Paul has always provided the highest level of oral surgery care to his patients. He maintains an oral surgical suite that provides state of the art services and monitoring for his patients. However, as safe as oral surgery is in today's environment, no surgical procedure is without risk.

The circumstances regarding Mr. Lapinski's complications are not completely understood. What is understood is that Mr. Lapinski's complications occurred despite the fact there were no apparent contraindications for his oral surgery, routine anesthetic medications were being used for the procedure, and immediate measures were undertaken to revive the patient as soon as the patient began to decompensate. The reason for the patient's decompensation is unknown, however, all standard protocols were followed. Dr. Paul, and his staff's, thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Lapinski, Mr. Lapinski's family and close friends."

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