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Vancouver dental office owner fined $5,000 in death of 4-year-old

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 17, 2019

By Wyatt Stayner Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.)

Washington’s Dental Quality Assurance Commission has fined an owner of Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Vancouver in connection with the death of a 4-year-old Vancouver boy after a dental procedure in March 2017.

Mykel Wayne Peterson died after receiving general anesthesia for dental treatment. In June 2017, the Clark County medical examiner’s office announced the boy had died of multiple drug intoxication from anesthesia.

According to a Washington State Department of Health news release, the commission fined Prashant Gagneja $5,000 for not having a written contract with Vancouver-based Northwest Mobile Anesthesia Group, which had a contractor administer anesthesia to Mykel before he died.

Gagneja also must reimburse $3,500 in costs to the commission, submit a revised dentist and anesthesia provider contract, pass a jurisprudence exam and complete continuing education in record keeping, according to the news release. Gagneja owns Must Love Kids with his wife, Monisha Gagneja.

Chester Hu is the independent contractor for Northwest Mobile Anesthesia Group who administered the anesthesia. Hu has been fined $5,000 in connection with Mykel’s death. He hasn’t worked for Northwest Mobile or Must Love Kids since March 2017.

The Dental Commission has placed conditions on his practice, and it’s unclear if Hu is still practicing.

According to the DOH, Hu didn’t appropriately use monitoring equipment and didn’t assign a properly trained and certified person to continuously monitor the boy.

In February 2018, the commission filed charges against the Gagnejas, alleging unprofessional conduct and claiming the dental office didn’t have a written contract with Northwest Mobile Anesthesia Group to administer services.

Mykel, who had developmental delays, was a patient of Must Love Kids for about two years before his death. He received anesthesia without complications from Northwest Mobile Anesthesia Group in 2014 and 2015, and general anesthesia was recommended for the 2017 visit, according to the charging documents.

On that March 2017 visit, Hu injected Mykel with ketamine and Versed, two sedation drugs, and in the operating room, propofol and nitrous oxide provided ongoing anesthesia. He also received fentanyl, the charging documents state.

After the procedure ended, Mykel was taken to a recovery room, where Hu monitored him initially, then turned care over to a medical assistant so Hu could visit another patient. The medical assistant checked on Mykel every 10 to 15 minutes and noticed he wasn’t conscious. The medical assistant tried to stimulate him and put towels on his face and neck, but nothing worked, according to the charging documents.

Mykel’s breathing became slow and shallow, according to the charging documents, and Hu returned to check on the boy. He confirmed his breathing was slow and shallow and left the room again briefly to check on another patient.

When Hu returned the next time, Mykel’s breathing was “significantly depressed and his lip color had darkened,” according to the documents. He stopped breathing and attempts to resuscitate the boy were unsuccessful. Mykel was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

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