The dental procedure was a routine one: Getting crowns put in on a 4-year-old’s teeth.
But the child, Mykel Peterson, had been squirmy on previous visits to Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Vancouver, Wash., his mother said — so during his visit for the crown procedure on March 10, 2017, an anesthesiologist put the 4-year-old under, KATU reports.
“He was just saying how he gave him just a little extra dosage to make sure he didn’t wake up through the procedure,” Thmeka Curry, Mykel’s mother, told the TV station.
Curry told KOIN that the anesthesiologist gave the child a shot instead of gas so that he would fall asleep. Then, after Curry rocked Mykel to sleep, the child went in for the procedure.
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When the procedure was over, Curry was called in to wait until Mykel woke up from the anesthesia. But Mykel never did — and eventually he stopped breathing altogether, the Columbian reports. First responders tried to revive Mykel with no success.
“I was eventually asked to leave when he started the chest compressions,” Curry told KPTV. “I just went into shock, like this is not really happening right now.
He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, the TV station reports.
The medical examiner’s office found that Mykel’s death was caused by multiple drug intoxication from anesthesia, the Columbian reports.
“I’ve never heard of a 4-year-old going to the dentist and dying,” Curry told KOIN.
Drs. Prashant and Monisha Gagneja and Dr. Chelsea Zamudio issued a statement to KOIN after the incident.
“There are times when the use of general anesthesia is necessary to provide quality dental care for children,” the doctors said. “We have performed dentistry for pediatric patients under deep sedation and general anesthesia more than 1,900 times without incident in the last three and half years in Vancouver.”
But now, the Washington State Medical Commission has charged Mykel’s anesthesiologist, Chester Hu, with incompetence, KOIN reports. That could mean “discipline and the imposition of sanctions,” according to a notice released by the commission.
Curry, Mykel’s mother, says parents should be extra cautious where anesthesia is involved.
“Just any time your kid might get put to sleep, just ask lots of questions,” Curry told KPTV.
A GoFundMe page raising money for Mykel’s family describes the 4-year-old as happy, loving and energetic.
“He loved holidays and family get togethers,” the page said. “[J]ust expect him to always be on his PlayStation.”