PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It will be weeks before Thmeka Curry learns why her 4-year-old son died suddenly during a visit to a Vancouver dental office on March 10.

Mykel Peterson never woke up after getting a shot of general anesthesia before dental surgery.

Dr. Jade Miller, the president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, told KOIN 6 News he is aware of Mykel’s death — and of 3 others in recent years involving young children anesthetized at a dentist’s office.

Miller said his organization is looking into what happened and recommends parents ask questions of both the dentist and the anesthesiologist.

“Ask what’s their training, where, what’s their background in providing their service, what’s their experience,” he said.


Both Miller and state board experts who spoke with KOIN 6 News said it is standard procedure for a child’s heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs to be monitored by equipment and staff.

Miller also suggested getting a 2nd opinion and to ask about alternative procedures.

Curry told KOIN 6 News on Monday Mykel had previous tooth damage that required work.

Dentists who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they see many bad teeth in pre-schoolers who go to bed with a bottle of juice or milk which sits on their teeth.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.