A mother is grieving the death of her 3-year-old son after he had a complication during a “simple” dental procedure.
Abiel Valenzuela Zapata headed into Tiny Teeth Pediatrics Dentistry in Wichita on July 6 to have teeth pulled due to a gum infection and was given anesthesia. His mother Nancy Valenzuela, revealed he died soon after.
“We didn’t expect to come out of there without a child,” Valenzuela said, adding how her son was completely fine prior to surgery. The nurse anesthetist (CRNA) said Abiel was doing fine for about 30 minutes under sedation, according to a Wichita Police Department incident report. But 20 minutes later, the boy’s cheek later swelled and his pulse slowed down.
Per the report, the patient was “given something,” though the details were redacted, “to try to increase his heart rate when his pulse stopped and they started CPR.”
Abiel was then hospitalized and later died. The report noted that the doctor who performed the procedure stated he had never seen a case like this, specifically in a patient without any known allergies.
In a raw and vulnerable post to Facebook this past Monday, Valenzuela urged how her son did not have an allergic reaction as it was the same anesthesia he was under previously — which he had no reaction to.
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“My boy didn’t deserve to die no matter how many [people] say it was probably an allergic reaction,” she wrote in the post. “I watched doctors and nurses give CPR forever and my boy didn’t return to me. So yes I want justice, find out what happened because he was a healthy boy. And there is someone to blame for it.”
The mother says her investigation is a promise to her son, in a conversation with KSNW.
“‘I couldn’t do anything for you, but I will investigate.’ It’s what I told him. It’s the only thing I can do and bring awareness,” Valenzuela said of Abiel’s tragic death.
Wichita Police Department states there is no criminal investigation underway at this time.
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An attorney for Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry shared the practice’s condolences and support for an investigation, in a statement to PEOPLE on Tuesday.
“Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry is devastated by the death of Abiel Valenzuela Zapata. We are praying for the family during this time and ask for the community to do so, as well. Like Abiel’s family, we, too, want to understand how this tragic event may have occurred,” the statement said.
“Our practice has never experienced an incident like this, and we had no reason to expect this procedure would be anything other than routine. We would like to thank the EMS first responders who arrived only a few minutes after we called 911,” it continued. “They continued the CPR efforts we had begun and worked feverishly to save Abiel.”
A GoFundMe was created with the intent to help Abiel’s family with for funeral costs and other financial expenses that has raised $18K at the time of writing.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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