A 4-year-old Vancouver, Washington, boy went in for a routine dental procedure under anesthesia but never woke up, and now his family is desperate to know why he died.
Thmeka Curry is in shock after the sudden death of her son Mykel, television station KPTV in Portland reported on Monday.
Curry told the station took her son to the dentist’s office last Friday, a place where he’d had procedures under anesthesia before.
The little boy went in to get some crowns put on his teeth, but in the recovery room, the boy just wasn’t waking up and one of the employees noticed he stopped breathing.
“I was eventually asked to leave when he started the chest compressions,” Curry said. “I just went into shock, like this is not really happening right now. So I’m just texting his dad and coworkers and friends, and they’re just like, ‘He’ll be OK.'”
Paramedics rushed the 4-year-old to the hospital, but he died soon after. Curry is still trying to figure out what happened.
“I wasn’t concerned about it. He’s had it done before, so it wasn’t anything I was afraid of,” she said. “It has not actually hit me yet that my son is not coming back and I’m just numb at this point.”
Curry says Mykel was a sweet and happy boy and that he was developmentally delayed. That’s why they went to that particular dental office, which specializes in treating children with special needs.
KPTV is not naming the dental clinic involved because no criminal charges have been filed, but the clinic did release a statement, saying in part:
“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.
“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 Washington State Department of Health is reviewing a complaint related to the boy’s death, but there is no word on how long that could take.
Following the tragic loss of her son, Curry now has strong advice for other parents.
“Just any time your kid might get put to sleep, just ask lots of questions,” she said.