Mom says 4-year-old son passed away after being put to sleep during dental procedure

Mykel Peterson (Courtesy Peterson family)

A Washington mom says her 4-year-old son passed away following a routine dental procedure on Friday. Days later, she still doesn't know what happened.

"That's what I'm struggling with. Like, I've never heard of a child losing their life at a dentist. That's something that I've never heard of," Thmeka Curry said.

Curry says her son, Mykel Peterson, was undergoing a routine dental procedure at Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Vancouver last Friday when something went wrong.

Curry says her son was a bit squirmy during the last dental visit, so the dentist opted to sedate him this time around. The boy was put to sleep by an anesthesiologist, Curry said.

Curry says the boy was breathing after the procedure, but shortly after she began to worry that he was still asleep. She asked the doctors if anything had gone wrong, and the anesthesiologist explained why it might take longer for him to wake up.

"He was just saying how he gave him just a little extra dosage to make sure he didn't wake up through the procedure," Curry said of what the anesthesiologist told her.

But then, something went wrong. Vancouver Fire confirms dental staff began CPR and called 911. Medics kept CPR going as they rushed the boy to the hospital, according to a Vancouver Fire spokesman.

Mykel's mom says the boy was developmentally delayed, but had no health problems to speak of prior to his death. To make matters even worse, he passed away on his father's birthday.

Vancouver police say this is not a criminal investigation and referred us to the Vancouver Fire Department. They confirm they received a call of a cardiac arrest from the addresses listed for the same dental office. Now it's up to the medical examiner to determine a cause of death. Curry says the toxicology report won't be available for up to eight weeks, but she is determined to find out what happened.

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

A GoFundMe page has been created to help the Peterson family pay for Mykel's funeral.

Here's a full statement from a representative with Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry:

As dentists and staff devoted exclusively to the needs of children, all of us at Must Love Kids® Pediatric Dentistry are heartbroken and devastated by this event. We ask the community to join us in thoughts and prayers for the family.

As to the specifics, outside medical experts will review what happened, so it would be premature to comment.

We can say that we have always been passionate and taken the utmost care of our patients and their families, and provide the highest standard of care in a safe environment. We will continue our devotion to providing the best care to our patients.

There are times when the use of general anesthesia is necessary to provide quality dental care for children. 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. Must Love Kids® is a Vancouver pediatric dentistry clinic founded to provide individualized, high-quality, state-of-the-art pediatric dental care for children in a fun, friendly atmosphere. The clinic founders, Drs. Monisha and Prashant Gagneja, are board-certified pediatric dentists and between them have 28 years in the practice of pediatric dentistry. Dr. Chelsea Zamudio previously was the Chief Resident at the Westwood Pediatric Dentistry Residency Program, University of California, Los Angeles(UCLA).

Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry

601 SE 117th Ave Ste. 150

Vancouver, WA 98683

Tel: 360-450-2999, Fax: 360-335-6889, Email:


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