Woman Suffers Severe Brain Damage After Dental Surgery per Lawsuit

MARBLE FALLS, Texas – A Miami woman has been left with severe brain damage and requires constant care after an anesthesiologist allegedly administered a dangerously high dose of fentanyl during dental surgery. According to a lawsuit filed by Luis Espana, his wife, Maria Lugo Querales, experienced cardiac arrest and respiratory failure on May 10, 2022, after the anesthesiologist, Dr. Jerry Teague, failed to intubate her before administering excessive amounts of anesthesia drugs.

The lawsuit claims that Lugo traveled from Miami to the Nunnally, Freeman and Owens dental practice in Marble Falls, Texas, to undergo a procedure for alleged “cavitations” and the extraction of a root canal-treated tooth. In preparation for the surgery, Lugo was given approximately 400 micrograms of fentanyl, along with the sedative midazolam and the anesthetic lidocaine.

Dr. Teague, who was an anesthesiologist at the clinic, administered the drugs to Lugo the day after his wife reported him missing, citing cognitive issues stemming from his recent pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

Teague returned home shortly after being reported missing and refused to go to the hospital. The next day, he was back at work, and Lugo, unaware of his earlier disappearance, underwent the surgery without being informed or consenting to the anesthesia. Teague failed to intubate her, and as a result, she overdosed on the drugs without airway protection.

Lugo’s scheduled dental surgery was canceled, and she was rushed to St. David’s Medical Center in Austin. However, her injuries were catastrophic, and she now resides in a neurological rehabilitation facility in Florida, where she requires 24-hour care, including artificial feeding and mechanical ventilation through a tracheotomy.

Lugo’s husband is suing the dental office and the dentists involved, Dr. Lane Freeman and Dr. Stuart Nunnally, accusing them of negligence and performing unnecessary surgery. The dentists have denied these allegations and claimed that Lugo consented to the recommended care. The case also raises questions about Teague’s professional history, including previous lawsuits and suspensions related to a failed drug test in 2016.

Espana seeks unspecified damages from the dental practice and the dentists, following a confidential settlement with Teague’s estate. The settlement is pending court approval. Lugo’s medical bills have already surpassed $1 million, and her insurer is refusing to cover the costs since it did not authorize her treatment in Texas.