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Minnesota teen dies after dental procedure

A 17-year-old girl in Minnesota died Monday, nearly a week after she suffered cardiac arrest while having her wisdom teeth pulled.

Sydney Galleger's tragic case drew national attention as her family posted daily updates about her condition online.

Galleger went to the dentist June 9 for what should have been a routine procedure, when suddenly "her blood pressure shot up and her pulse dropped and then she went into cardiac arrest," her mother, Diane Galleger, wrote on the family's CaringBridge web page. The doctor quickly started CPR and called 911, and Sydney was rushed to the hospital.

But after a harrowing week in intensive care with seizures, brain swelling and emergency surgery, Galleger -- described by her family as "a fighter" -- lost her battle.

On Monday evening, her mother posted the news online: "Our precious Sydney left this physical world TODAY to live in eternity with God and Jesus forever," she wrote. "We have all been blessed to have been touched by Sydney in one way or another. Her faith was strong, her heart was big, her laughter was infectious and her smile could light up a room."

"Thank you for all the prayers of support, healing and strength during these last 7 days that has seemed like an eternity. We have certainly felt their presence and they have held us up," she wrote.

Get well cards decorate Sydney Galleger's hospital room. Galleger Family/

CBS Minnesota reports the family has received an outpouring of support from neighbors and Sydney's high school classmates in Eden Prairie, outside Minneapolis.

Family members said while they don't know what exactly happened, there could have been a heart condition they didn't know about, the station reported.

Fatal complications from dental surgery are extremely rare. In one case last year, a Maine teenager died after having his impacted wisdom teeth removed; an autopsy determined a rare bacterial infection was to blame.

"It is a rare event, thank heaven," Dr. Mark Wolff, D.D.S., Ph.D., a professor at New York University College of Dentistry, told CBS News. "We like to think of having wisdom teeth out as a casual occurrence, but it can be an extensive surgery, it's important to remember that. It is surgery and it should be managed judiciously."

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