With the school year out of the way, Eden Prairie High School junior Sydney Galleger went to the doctor to have her wisdom teeth removed.

The routine procedure turned tragic. Galleger went into cardiac arrest during the extraction last Tuesday, according to her mother.

By Friday, Diane Galleger wrote on her daughter’s CarringBridge site that Sydney “chose to be an organ donor when she got her driver’s license at age 16. … We are still in shock that this has happened, but knowing that a part of Sydney will live on and give someone else life, gives us some comfort.”

On Monday evening, Galleger’s family announced her death on the CaringBridge page. The diver on the high school swim team and Alpine skier was 17 years old.

“Our precious Sydney left this physical world [Monday] to live in eternity with God and Jesus forever,” the family’s posting read. “Her faith was strong, her heart was big, her laughter was infectious and her smile could light up a room.”

The family added its thanks “for all the prayers of support, healing and strength during these last seven days that has seemed like an eternity.”

There have been other instances in the United States in recent years of patients suffering cardiac arrest during extraction of wisdom teeth and then dying. Among them: a 24-year-old southern California man in 2013 and a 17-year-old girl in Maryland in 2011.

Soon after Sydney was stricken, Diane Galleger wrote on CaringBridge that everything was going well with the procedure “until the very end, when her blood pressure shot up and her pulse dropped and then she went into cardiac arrest.”

Sydney’s mother said the doctor started CPR and called 911. Paramedics quickly arrived and got her to a hospital.

Once at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, she was stabilized but continued to have seizures, Diane Galleger wrote.

“We still don’t know what caused this to happen, but it’s possibly pointing to an unknown heart condition,” Sydney’s mother said in the posting on the day her daughter was stricken.

By Friday, Diane Galleger wrote, the swelling in Sydney’s brain proved overwhelming.

“As we met with a team of Drs. and nurses at 3 a.m., they let us know there was nothing more that could be done,” Diane Galleger wrote. “As you can imagine, that was the most devastating news we have ever received. We want to rewind to [last] Monday, where we had our happy, healthy, funny, beautiful 17-year-old daughter.”

On Saturday, members of the Eden Prairie girls’ lacrosse team tied blue ribbons in their hair in honor of their fellow student and took the lacrosse field in Minnetonka and captured their third state championship. They defeated Lakeville South 14-13 in double overtime.

“I was pushing to win for Sydney,” said junior midfielder Kelly Wolfe, who scored the game-winning goal. “I wanted to win it for Eagle Nation.”

Visitation for Sydney Galleger will be Friday at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie at a time yet to be determined. A funeral service will be held on Saturday at the church starting at 11:11 a.m.


Star Tribune staff writer Master Tesfatsion contributed to this report.