Teen Dead After Root Canal Went in for a Filling

Medical examiner says cause of death was sepsis, an infection of the blood.

By Hannah Chanpong and Anthony Ponce
|  Saturday, Feb 12, 2011  |  Updated 10:07 AM CDT
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A 17-year-old boy died Wednesday due to an infection he contracted after root canal surgery, but his family says he only needed a filling.

A 17-year-old boy died Wednesday due to an infection he contracted after root canal surgery, but his family says he only needed a filling.

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A teen who died this week from an infection he contracted after having a root canal had only gone to the dental clinic for a filling, his family said Friday.

Christopher Schutzius, of Blue Island, went to Dental Dreams on Western Avenue on Feb. 1 after losing a filling while eating a piece of caramel.

Days later, he complained that his throat hurt and that his body ached.  His foster mother, Laura Serna, took him to the hospital, where he died the next morning. 

The cause of death, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office:  sepsis, an infection of the blood.

"It just happened so fast.  He was only 17.  It was devastating for all of us," said Christine Garcia, Schultzius' foster sister.

It's left the family wondering why the clinic did a root canal in the first place.

"He only went in there to get a filling.  They didn't need to do all that.  They didn't give him no pain medication, nothing," said Garcia.

In a statement, the clinic said it is conducting an investigation.

"We were shocked to hear this news and express our deepest condolences to the family.  We are conducting a throrough review of his treatment and will provide further details as they become available to us," said Dr. Sameera Hussain, the president of Dental Dreams.

Schutzius was a senior at Eisenhower High School.  Visitation has been scheduled for 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at McGann Funeral Home, at 10727 Pulaski Road, in Chicago.

Burial will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Evergreen Cemetery, 8401 W. 87th St., in Evergreen Park.

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