Vancouver boy, 4, goes to dentist, dies

Mykel Peterson visited the Must Love Kids dental practice for planned surgery

Mykell Peterson, 4, died March 10, 2017 (Courtesy photo)
Mykell Peterson, 4, died March 10, 2017 (Courtesy photo)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — “I’ve never heard of a 4-year-old going to the dentist and dying.”

Thmeka Curry's 4-year-old son Mykel Peterson died after a visit to the Must Love Kids dental clinic in Vancouver, March 13, 2017 (KOIN)
Thmeka Curry’s 4-year-old son Mykel Peterson died after a visit to the Must Love Kids dental clinic in Vancouver, March 13, 2017 (KOIN)

Mykel Peterson’s mother, Thmeka Curry, is at a loss for answers after her only child’s sudden death last Friday. Curry said she took her pre-schooler to the Must Love Kids dental practice in Vancouver for planned tooth surgery — a place they had been to before.

Instead of giving him gas to go to sleep for the surgery, Curry said an anesthesiologist gave him a shot, and she rocked him until he fell asleep.

“Carried him to the room where I put him on the bed and I was told to wait in the lobby,” Curry told KOIN 6 News.

After surgery, she said she was told to come back in and wait for Mykel to wake up.

That never happened.

This sign was on the Must Love Kids dental practice in Vancouver, March 13, 2017 (KOIN)
This sign was on the Must Love Kids dental practice in Vancouver, March 13, 2017 (KOIN)

Police, fire and an ambulance arrived and rushed the boy to the hospital. But Mykel died.

The Must Love Kids pediatric dental practice was unexpectedly closed Monday with a sign on the door. But one person who answered the knock by KOIN 6 News would only say, “We will be releasing a statement.”

Shortly before 4 p.m., Drs. Prashant and Monisha Gagneja and Dr. Chelsea Zamudio issued a statement that said, in part:

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

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. …

The Washington State Health Department confirms it received information about Mykel’s death and that they are reviewing the case.

The Vancouver police, though, told KOIN 6 News they have no information there was anything criminal that led to Mykel’s death and they are not currently investigating.

Drug test results will take several weeks to determine the cause and manner of how Mykel died.

Curry said she is getting an attorney. A GoFundMe account has been started to help the family during this time.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

The bicycles of Mykell Peterson, 4, who died March 10, 2017 (KOIN)
The bicycles of Mykell Peterson, 4, who died March 10, 2017 (KOIN)