Autistic Boy Dies After Routine Dental Procedure

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A family from Washington is seeking answers after their 4-year-old boy died during a seemingly routine dental procedure which reportedly involved a shot of anesthesia.

Mykel Peterson, a patient at Must Love Kids dental practice in Vancouver, was on the autism spectrum. He reportedly had trouble keeping his mouth open during appointments.

“He wouldn’t keep his mouth open so they can actually see what’s going on,” Thmeka Curry, Mykel’s  mother said. The dental practice is qualified to treat children with developmental issues and uses a board-certified anesthesiologist.

Mykel reportedly was given a shot of Ketamine, which is a common anesthesia drug. It was given so that he would be sedated while the dentist checked to see if he needed a filling or crown.

The dentist was telling me everything she did with his teeth, and she was going to check to see if he was awake yet,” Curry said.

Curry said the anesthesiologist said Mykel was given an extra dose to ensure he did not wake during the procedure.

The anesthesiologist started to check his pulse and was shaking him and at this point I am still not aware anything happened to my son,” Curry said she was in the waiting room.

Staff members began administering CPR. Paramedics were then called to the office and Mykel was transported to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead. The cause of death has not been concluded, while a toxicology report will not be available for up to eight weeks.

“For me right now, it’s more of I just need to know what happened,” Curry said. “So I can have that closure for my son. That’s it.” 

A statement from Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry said it would be to early to comment on the specifics of the case, however the office has performed dentistry for pediatric patients under deep sedation and general anesthesia more than 1,900 times without any incident over the last 3 years.

“We contract with an independent, highly qualified and experienced board-certified anesthesiologist for anesthesia services who follow strict protocols, including a pre-operative checkup and clearance by the child’s primary physician prior to the procedure,” the statement said.



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