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A 7-year-old girl died just one minute into a routine tonsillectomy

  • A seven-year-old girl died one minute into a routine tonsillectomy.
  • Her parents say she was healthy, with no prior medical issues. 
  • Tonsillectomies have been performed for over 1,000 years, but like any surgery, they can be dangerous, with swelling, bleeding and possible infection risks. 
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The parents of a seven-year-old girl from South Carolina say their daughter died one minute into a surgery to get her tonsils removed.

On February 21, Paisley Elizabeth Grace Cogsdill's heart stopped at a medical center, and doctors couldn't revive her. Her parents say she was completely healthy, with no prior medical issues, according to WHNS-TV. 

A GoFundMe campaign raised over $36,000 for funeral expenses in the span of four days. "My daughter has this same surgery happening next month," one donor wrote in the comments. Paisley's obituary described her as "a straight-A 2nd Grader at Clinton Elementary."

Tonsillectomies are common, but still carry risk

A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of the tonsils, which are two oval-shaped pads of tissue on either side of the throat. The surgery can be necessary to treat poor breathing, enlarged tonsils, and certain rare diseases. Tonsils produce white blood cells which fight disease, and doctors believe they're the first line of defense against bacteria and disease seeking to enter through the mouth.

Tonsillectomies have been around for over 1,000 years, but like any surgery, they can be dangerous, as people risk swelling, bleeding and possible infection. Death during tonsillectomy tends to be rare. A 2019 study put the US mortality rate at 1 death per 18,000 surgeries.

Over half-a-million US children get this routine surgery every year, making it the second most common surgery in America. 

But as the mouth's first line of defense, tonsils are more vulnerable to disease, especially for children, who have yet to develop immunities to certain bacteria.

The number of tonsillectomies performed in the US has decreased since the 1970s, as doctors became more conservative in their recommendations, not wanting to perform unnecessary surgeries. 

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