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Arizona family sues dental clinic after their toddler died due to alleged medical malpractice

Mary Scott
Jan 11, 2019
05:07 A.M.
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A visit to the dentist turned tragic after a two-year-old boy lost his life and now the family is suing the dental clinic. New developments now reveal that a similar incident occurred at the same clinic in 2016.

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On December 16, 2017, Veronica Gastelum took her two-year-old son, Zion to Kool Smiles dental clinic in Yuma, Arizona.

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Zion was due to get crowns for his cavities and was promptly placed under anesthesia, but things turned ugly pretty quickly.

Aaron Roberts, a Phoenix-based anesthesiologist, contracted by Kool Smiles, was in charge and even though he told police officers that Zion’s procedure was successful, the Gastelum family thinks differently.

In the medical malpractice lawsuit filed on behalf of Zion’s family, alleges that a Kool Smiles employee silenced the alarm on the pulse oximeter used to monitor a patient's pulse and oxygen saturation.

The lawsuit also states that Zion was left unattended in the recovery room and the oxygen tank he was hooked up to was either faulty or empty.

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Veronica allegedly went into the recovery room after hearing Zion’s monitor alarm go off and a clinic staff repeatedly muted it.

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The filing further explains:

“Shortly thereafter, the alarm went off an additional three to four times – each time silenced by the Kool Smiles staff member – until the staff member finally removed the monitor from Zion and stated that the device does not work on children.”

By the time Veronica realized her son’s chest was still and that he had no pulse, the staff began to take her seriously.

But it was too late. Zion was rushed to Phoenix Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with brain damage caused by lack of oxygen and passed on four days later.

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A devastated Veronica recalled:

“He would give the most amazing hugs and then he would just squeeze you and if you would squeeze him and he was like done. We have his urns on our dresser and we kiss him every day, that's the only way we can and we do so we talk to him and we tell him that we love him. Everybody is just broken and no we're not okay”

Roberts, through his attorney, has sent condolences to the Gastelum family but cannot say anything else because of the pending litigation.

In January 2016, another child, a four-year-old girl, died after contracting an infection following a routine dental check at the same Kool Smiles in Arizona.

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The mother of the late child is also now going to court and hoping to stop the clinic from doing the same thing again to another child.

Away from Arizona, 2016 also saw three-year-old Marvelena Rady succumbing to complications that arose from a dental procedure she got in DentalBliss in San Ramon, California.

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