Autistic boy dies after routine dental procedure, report says

Mykel Peterson reportedly had trouble getting his mouth open during dental appointments.


A Washington family is looking for answers after their 4-year-old son died Friday during a seemingly routine dental procedure that allegedly involved a shot of anesthesia. Mykel Peterson, who is a patient at Children’s dental practice in Vancouver, was on the autism spectrum and had difficulty to open his mouth during appointments, KGW8 reported.

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

The practice specializes in the treatment of children with developmental problems and makes use of a board-certified anesthesiologist. Mykel reportedly got a shot of Ketamine, a common anesthesia drug, so that he would be dismissed, while the dentist checked to see if he had a filling or crown, KGW8 reported.

“The dentist told me everything she did with his teeth, and she was going to have to check to see if he is still awake,” Curry told KGW8.

Curry told KATU that the anesthesiologist said Mykel was given an additional dose to ensure that he is not awake during the procedure.

“The anesthesiologist started to check his pulse and was shaking him, and at this moment I am still not aware of everything happened with my son,” Curry, who is in the waiting room, told KOIN.

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

“For me at this time, it is 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 declaration Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry said that it would be premature to comment on the specifics of the case, but that the agency has performed dentistry for pediatric patients under deep sedation, and general anesthesia more than 1,900 times without incident over the past three years.

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

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

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