The California dental center where a 3-year-old girl died following a routine procedure says the toddler was “stable” before being transferred to a hospital for treatment last week.
In a new statement to PEOPLE, David Thompson, the administrator for the Children’s Dental Surgery Center in Stockton, said, “Our hearts and thoughts are with the family. It was a tragic event. None any of us expected this.”
“We have had tens of thousands of children here and this a first. Our staff is dealing with it as well.”
Daleyza Hernandez allegedly died on Monday, June 12, while under sedation to have two teeth pulled and capped at the center, her parents, Jose Hernandez and Araceli Avila, told KCRA 3.
According to a GoFundMe created in the toddler’s name, Avila saw paramedics arrive on the scene but allegedly wasn’t told the patient was her daughter until nearly 20 minutes later.
The fundraiser’s creator, Laura Rojas, said that dental staff told Avila that the little girl had stopped breathing while under anesthesia, but that she was “stable” before the paramedics arrived. She later died at the hospital. (Rojas did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.)
In his statement, Thompson said Daleyza “was stable and then transferred to the hospital.”
“This mother is devastated, she never thought that a dentist appointment was going to take her baby’s life,” Rojas – who identified herself as the wife of Daleyza’s cousin – wrote. “She sends a message to all parents out their [sic]. Don’t let your kids put to sleep.”
In an earlier interview with KCRA 3, Thompson said that it’s not uncommon for the center to have children between ages 3 and 5 sedated for treatment. He said that the non-profit center treats up to 3,000 patients are year, all age 9 or younger.
Thompson told the outlet that Avila was aware of the risks associated with anesthesia, and that consent forms were in Spanish, the mother’s spoken language.
Authorities are looking into the child’s death according to KCRA 3, but no foul play is currently suspected.
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At the time, Robert Delarosa, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, told PEOPLE that putting young children under anesthesia for a dental procedure is “unfortunately very common.”
“When a tooth gets decay as a baby, there are a number of treatments that depend on the size of the cavity and how much of the tooth structure is involved,” Delarosa told PEOPLE in 2016. “Taking the teeth out prematurely leads to complications with growth, development, speech and chewing. To fill a tooth with that much decay has longterm functionality effects. You’re better off doing a crown or putting a cap on.”
Ignoring a cavity would lead to more serious problems for an infant, explained Delarosa, including disfigured facial expressions and cellulitis.
“Dental disease in baby teeth is the same, if not worse, in a younger patient,” he explained. “Baby teeth are very prone to decay. Cavities are the most common pediatric dental disease. Cavities are the most chronic childhood disease in this country, and the biggest reason is prolonged bottle feeding.”
According to the GoFundMe page for Daleyza, a viewing will be held on June 20 from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. PST at the Cano Funeral Home in Stockton. Mass will be held the next day at 10:00 a.m. PST at the Santa Maria Church, before the funeral at the San Joaquin Catholic Cemetery in Stockton.