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CHICAGO - A Chicago dentist whose 5-year-old patient slipped into a fatal coma after a procedure in his office has filed a lawsuit to try to overturn a state ruling suspending his dental license.

Dr. Hicham Riba claims in that lawsuit that the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation "was influenced by the media'' and relied on improper expert testimony in its action. Riba filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday.

Diamond Brownridge never awoke from a Sept. 23 procedure at Riba's storefront clinic to fill cavities and cap teeth. The Cook County medical examiner's office determined the kindergartner died from a lack of oxygen caused by anesthesia.

Riba's licensed was suspended for a minimum of 18 months. He also was fined $10,000, the maximum allowed under Illinois law, and permanently lost his permit to sedate patients.

The board also suspended Riba's pediatric dentistry license for at least three years and his controlled substance license for at least five years.

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