Benjamin Edward LaMontagne, a musically gifted Maine teenager, died after a routine wisdom extraction surgery, sending shockwave throughout his community.
LaMontagne had his impacted wisdom teeth removed on Feb.19, enduring the usual swelling and pain following the procedure, the Portland Press Herald reports. But two days later his condition rapidly worsened and, early in the morning Saturday, he died in his mother’s arms.
The family lives on Long Island in Casco Bay, near Portland. They are thankful for the paramedics’ efforts, despite their grief over the loss of their son.
“The emergency response, we feel, appeared like magic,” said Peter LaMontagne, his father. “We recognized the challenges with providing emergency response on a rural Maine island.”
An autopsy is pending to determine the exact cause of the young man’s death. Oral surgeons say that death from a wisdom extraction surgery is extremely rare—so much so that there is no data about it.
“The frequency of death is so low that it can’t be accurately estimated,” said Dr. Thomas Dodson, professor and chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle.
“I’m trained as an epidemiologist, and I can’t say I’ve even ever read (about a death) anywhere,” he said.
What can be said for sure is that LaMontagne, a talented clarinetist who had received a scholarship to a music conservatory, will be deeply missed.
“The best part about him was that he did his own thing, he went his own way,” said Christian Cilley, 18, LaMontagne’s closest friend. “You could either jump on the train or watch it fly by.”
“If anybody could say they had a complete life after 18 short years, it was Benjamin, which makes it all the more painful to have him taken from us so soon,” said Peter LaMontagne.
Sources: Portland Press Herald