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A Washington family is seeking answers after their 4-year-old son died Friday during a seemingly routine dental procedure that reportedly involved a shot of anesthesia. Mykel Peterson, who was a patient at Must Love Kids dental practice in Vancouver, was on the autism spectrum and had trouble keeping his mouth open during appointments, KGW8 reported. 

“He wouldn’t keep his mouth open so they can actually see what’s going on,” Thmeka Curry, Mykel’s  mother, told the news outlet. 

The dental practice specializes in treating children with developmental issues and uses a board-certified anesthesiologist. Mykel reportedly was given a shot of Ketamine, a common anesthesia drug, so that he would be sedated while the dentist checked to see if he needed a filling or crown, KGW8 reported. 

“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 told KGW8. 

Curry told KATU that 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, who was in the waiting room, told KOIN. 

Staff members began administering CPR, and paramedics were called to the office. Mykel was transported to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead. A medical examiner is investigating to determine a cause of death, while a toxicology report will not be available for up to eight weeks, KATU reported. 

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

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

A GoFundMe page set up to cover costs of Mykel’s funeral said he will be remembered as a loving, energetic and smart boy. 



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