Kansas mother hopes for answers after 3-year-old son dies after dental procedure


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A Kansas mother is sharing her family’s tragedy and looking for answers after her 3-year-old son died following a dental procedure in Wichita on Tuesday. 

Nancy Valenzuela is a mother of three from Scott City. She said she brought her second child into Tiny Teeth Pediatrics Dentistry because he needed teeth pulled after an infection in his gums. She said she thought it would be a simple procedure and never imagined she would lose her child.

“We didn’t expect to come out of there without a child,” said Valenzuela. 

Abiel died Tuesday after being transported to a Wichita hospital. His mother remembered her middle child as full of energy and just a month away from turning four. 

Valenzuela said after visiting two dental offices in southwest Kansas, she was told her son needed some teeth removed. She said he was good before he went into surgery and cried when he had to get a shot. But, she said right after that, she told him it would be okay.

“I told him, Papi, everything’s going to be okay. You know you’re fine,” said Valenzuela. 

Wichita police officers responded to a 911 call at the dental office and filed an incident report about what they found.

“There is no criminal investigation occurring at this time,” officer Trevor Macy said in a statement to NewsNation affiliate KSNW.

The incident report released to KSNW states the anesthesiologist reported that Abiel was doing fine for about 30 minutes under sedation. The doctor had been working on the boy during that time. When the doctor worked on the lower jawline, the document said the boy’s cheek swelled, and his pulse slowed down. That’s when CPR began, and the office called 911. The boy was taken to Wesley, where he later died. The incident report released to KSN redacted identifying information about the patient and other specifics about the procedures being performed.  

According to the report, the doctor said, in his career, he had never seen anything like this with someone, especially one without any known allergies.  

“I really thought that I made the right choice,” said Valenzuela. 

Valenzuela said she kept asking the front desk for details but didn’t know the medical emergency at the office was for her son until he was brought out to go to the ambulance. 

“As a mother, you feel like you failed him because you didn’t do anything to protect him,” she said. 

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When she saw her son, he had passed away. She said that’s when she made a promise to him. 

 “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,” she said. 

She said it’s been hard on her other kids, including Abiel’s older brother.

“I asked him later on in the night, where is Abiel and he pointed up, and he said he is with God,” she said. 

She said the family would have to take it one day at a time. 

“He’s in a better place, he was just so young, and we loved him a lot,” she said. 

Valenzuela said she’s unsure what happened during the procedure but is waiting to see what is in the coroner’s report.

KSNW reached out to Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry. Unfortunately, the office was closed at the time, and KSNW has not yet heard back to hear their comments.

The family is raising money for funeral costs via GoFundMe.

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