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Parents heartbroken when daughter, 3, dies following routine dental procedure


California parents were left heartbroken after their 3-year-old daughter allegedly died while undergoing a dental procedure last week, multiple outlets report.

Daleyza Hernandez Avila’s procedure involved pulling two teeth and placing caps on two teeth at the Children’s Dental Surgery Center in Stockton, her parents, Jose Hernandez and Araceli Avila, told KCRA 3. The young girl’s mother said she was under sedation for the procedure.

Avila told Fox 40 she was not allowed inside the room — this ensures sterility — while her daughter’s procedure took place. But while she was waiting for her daughter to finish, she saw an ambulance arrive.

“And I stood up and went outside because I was like, ‘They are coming for a kid,’ but I never thought it was for my child,” Avila said.

Moments later, a nurse took Avila aside and said something went wrong, telling her that her daughter’s heart had stopped, but she was stable, according to Fox 40. The young girl was taken to a local hospital, where she later reportedly died. Her cause of death had not yet been determined, according to local newspaper the Record.

“I’m looking for justice so what happened doesn’t happen to other mothers. So they don’t have to feel the same pain I feel after losing my daughter,” Avila, who speaks Spanish, told KCRA 3 through an interpreter.

David Thompson, the administrator for Children’s Dental Surgery Center, told Fox 40 the center only does general dental procedures — such as filling cavities and putting on crowns. Thompson told KCRA 3 that it’s not uncommon to have a 3, 4 or 5-year-old sedated for treatment, and the non-profit center treats 2,000 to 3,000 patients per year, all patients being 9 years old or younger.

He added that the mother was aware of the risks associated with anesthesia. The anesthesiologist spoke Spanish, and the consent forms were in Spanish, according to KCRA 3. (Children’s Dental Surgery Center did not respond to a request for comment from People at press time.)

The clinic was closed Friday after receiving death threats on social media, according to The Record, with some users posting comments about committing a mass shooting. It will reopen on Monday.

Stockton Police public information Officer Joseph Silva told KCRA 3 that authorities are investigating the young girl’s death, but it’s not a criminal investigation at this point. Stockton Police did not respond to People’s request for comment.

GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the family with funeral expenses.

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