Principal dies during root canal surgery

December 18, 2007 8:33:22 PM PST
A North Side school is in mourning following the death of Principal Georgette Watson, 46, who died during a root canal on Monday. Watson went into a cardiac arrest at the dental offices of Feldman and Feldman. Both doctors, who were placed on probation over the summer, expressed their sorrow.

"Mrs. Watson was a very wonderful and caring principal," said Gladys Medina, parent.

Watson worked at Brentano Academy in the Logan Square neighborhood.

"She understood us and knew what was best for us," said Tiffany Atwater, student.

A police report said Watson stopped breathing while under sedation at the office of Drs. Lawrence and Joseph Feldman. The Feldman's licenses to practice were put on probation earlier this year by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which alleged the dentists "performed crown and bridge treatment upon a patient below the standard of care and failed to maintain proper patient treatment records."

Patient Aldo Orta, who was in the office two months ago, said he had no idea the Feldmans were on probation.

"Nothing. Nothing," said Ado Orta. "No sign or nothing."

The IDFPR website listed the Feldman's probationary status, but did not say why they were on probation. Spokeswoman Susan Hofer said, "There's only so much information that our database can hold right now. We would love people to call to find out the status of their medical and other professionals."

Lawyer Robert Clifford represented the family of Diamond Brownridge, who died under dental sedation last year

"Anytime a dentist wants to use IV, intravenous sedation, lights and bells and whistles and buzzers should go off," said Robert Clifford, attorney.

Neither Feldman brother has made himself available for a interview. They issued a faxed statement: "Words alone cannot measure the grief and sadness we feel on the sudden loss of Georgette Watson".

Martha Benford--a Feldman patient since 2004--is wondering whether she'll make another appointment:

"If a dentist is put on probation, I don't know whether I'd go back to him. I'm having a real hard time with this," said Martha Benford, patient.

An autopsy on Georgette Watson's body was inconclusive. The medical examiner says more tests are needed to determine the cause of death.