Vancouver boy, 4, dies after anesthesia used in dental procedure


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, according to the anesthesiologist, Mykel was given an extra dose to ensure he would not wake up during procedure.

“The anesthesiologist started to check his pulse and was shaking him,” Curry told KOIN. “At this point I am still not aware anything happened to my son.”

After staff members administered CPR, paramedics were called to the office and Mykel was transferred to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead.

KATU reports that a medical examiner is investigating to determine a cause of death. A toxicology report will not be available for up to eight weeks.

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

Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry released a statement which said it would be premature to comment on the specifics of the case. The statement cited the practice’s history of performing dentistry for pediatric patients under deep sedation and general anesthesia over the last three years without incident.

“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 has been set up to cover costs of Mykel’s funeral and ease the burdens of his family. The GoFundMe remembers Mykel as a boy with “fervent and sincere love for his family,” adding “He will be forever loved for the way that he selflessly loved them and for the memories he left.”

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