updated 10/1/2006 11:13:44 AM ET 2006-10-01T15:13:44

State regulators have suspended the license of a dentist whose 5-year-old patient fell into a coma in his office and later died.

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Dr. Hicham Riba’s practices posed an “imminent danger to the public,” the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said Friday. It said Riba failed to properly monitor Diamond Brownridge’s blood pressure, pulse and respiration during her treatment Sept. 23 at his storefront clinic.

The complaint said Riba recorded that Diamond was “alert and responsive” on discharge, although her mother claims to have found her comatose in the dental chair.

Diamond died Wednesday at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She had been on life support for four days after her visit to Little Angel Dental to have some teeth filled and others capped.

Riba’s attorneys confirmed the suspension late Friday pending an Oct. 13 hearing.

“Diamond’s loss is tragic,” Riba said in a statement. “As we have stated before, we have fully cooperated with the investigation and will continue to do so.”

Riba, 40, faces up to $10,000 in fines for each of four violations, which include making false or fraudulent representations, professional incompetence and gross malpractice.

State regulators said Diamond received two injections of diazepam or Valium within five minutes, followed by oral Valium, lidocaine, several other medications, and nitrous oxide. The regulators did not say whether the combination or the dosages were appropriate for the 35-pound girl.

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