A Winnipeg man is in a medically induced coma after a wisdom tooth extraction at the end of February led to an infection that spread to his brain.
Mason Woods, 23, is in the intensive care unit at Health Sciences Centre. His family wants to know how a tooth extraction could become so serious in just two weeks' time.
"I really wasn't aware that it could get to this stage where they would be cutting holes in his skull and he could be laying on life-support. I just wasn't aware that that was a possibility from one little tooth. It was just one little tooth," his mother Angela Steele said.
Woods had the tooth extracted on Feb. 27. He was sent home with Tylenol 3s, his mother said, adding that several days later he went back to the oral surgeon because of the pain.
"Mason said, 'Geez Mom, this is too long, I think I'm going to die, it feels awful,'" said Steele.
The tooth had been removed at an oral surgery clinic. His mother said the procedure itself went well, but within a few days, Woods was in extreme pain and being treated with antibiotics and more painkillers.
Almost a week after the tooth extraction, the family said, Woods was admitted to Seven Oaks Hospital, where he was treated with antibiotics intravenously. A few days later he was released, but still in pain.
At a followup appointment with his oral surgeon later that week, a CT scan was ordered. The scan was set for the following day, but the morning before the scan, Woods' condition became worse and he was readmitted to Seven Oaks.
"He seemed to be getting more and more out of it, and he was drenched in sweat … they started asking Mason a bunch of questions, 'What's your name, what day is it?' … and Mason couldn't answer," said Steele.
After the scan was done he was transferred to Health Sciences Centre.
'Terrified and in such pain'
Steele said she was told Woods had a brain abscess. They waited for several hours before he was taken in for oral surgery to drain the infection.
"His eyes were just wild, and he was so terrified and in such pain," said Steele.
The next day Woods was rushed into emergency neurosurgery to open his skull to relieve pressure on his brain, his mother said. He has since had a second surgery Sunday to open his skull and drain more fluid from his brain.
Steele said her son is in a medically induced coma, and she isn't sure if he will ever wake up.
"It's hard to say if Mason will come out of the ICU, if Mason will be OK," said Steele.
Woods' younger sister, Marley Woods, said the ordeal has been hard on her and her mother.
"I just want Mason to come home and beat this sickness. They told us Mason was the sickest person in the hospital," said Woods.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority won't discuss the details of the case, but said it has reached out to the family to offer support.
"We are devastated to hear about the experience of this patient and his family. All surgeries, including dental surgeries, do carry a small risk of infection, and it seems that in this case, the infection had progressed to become quite severe. We are doing everything we can to provide this patient with the care he needs in hospital right now," said a health authority statement.
The office of the chief medical officer for the health authority will be reviewing the timeline of care in this case and will follow up with family, the statement said.