Wednesday | November 22, 2017
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Dr. Stover sued by family of woman in coma

The family of a 24-year-old Hilo woman who fell into a coma during a dental procedure last month is suing the oral surgeon who performed it.

The malpractice civil suit was filed Monday in Hilo Circuit Court by Honolulu attorney Rick Fried on behalf of Joseph Tavares Jr. Diana Pulgados, parents of Kristen Tavares, and names Dr. John Stover and his company Hilo Oral and Facial Surgery.

The suit seeks unspecified general, special and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees and costs. It claims Stover bungled an operation to remove Kristen Tavares’ wisdom teeth on March 17, and that Tavares, then 23 and an otherwise healthy mother of two, suffered cardiac arrest while under anesthesia and fell into a coma.

“They want some help financially for their daughter, who’s in Maui Memorial (Medical Center) and still in a coma,” Fried said Wednesday morning. “Then, more importantly they want to make sure the administrative rules are enforced.”

Stover, who had offices in Hilo, Waimea and Kona, has since closed his practice and has reportedly worked out an agreement with the state in which he will voluntarily surrender his medical and dental licenses. He reportedly will not be able to reapply for licensing in Hawaii for a period of five years.

Stover’s attorney, Arthur Roeca, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s edition of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Email John Burnett at


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