Patrick Clare

Blurry black and white yearbook photo of a young man with his hair falling over his eyes; he looks like the photo was taken before he got the chance to smile.Name: Patrick Clare
Died: April 27, 2011
Age at death: 35
Cause of death: Medical malpractice; overuse of sedation
Location: Coalinga, California, USA

Patrick had epilepsy in addition to his "autism-like" developmental disability. He was a high-school graduate who lived with his parents and spent a lot of time taking long walks along the streets of small-town Coalinga.

Patrick’s father, a dentist, was removing Patrick’s infected wisdom tooth. When his father had been trying and failing to remove the tooth for an hour, Patrick wanted to stop and leave. Instead, his father administered a total of two doses of Valium and three doses of morphine to keep Patrick from squirming. This was far too much sedative for Patrick’s 129-pound body, and his father had neither a license to use sedatives nor the necessary monitoring equipment.

Even though a dental assistant pointed out, twice, that Patrick was having trouble breathing, Patrick’s father ignored the problem, blaming it on Patrick's epilepsy, until Patrick stopped breathing entirely. Patrick’s father performed CPR, described by police as “half-hearted”–using so little pressure that it wouldn’t have been enough to honk a car horn, and without moving Patrick to a firm surface. Patrick was dead on arrival at the hospital.

Patrick's father gave up his dentist's license and was sentenced to three years of probation for using sedation without a license. After he served 22 months on probation, a judge wiped his record and dismissed the charges.

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