California dental office under investigation after 4-year-old dies

OAKLAND, California -- Three weeks ago, 4-year-old Dung Ly, died after a dental procedure at Youthful Tooth in Oakland.

A family member wrote on a Go Fund Me page, that Ly was given two doses of anesthesia and stopped breathing.

Ly's mother was in the waiting room and was concerned about why the procedure was taking so long.

"They didn't give her any update until she questioned them and then the next thing she said knew, is the ambulance arrived," said family friend, Jimmy Tran, who helps translate for Ly's parents, who recently immigrated to California from Vietnam.

The ambulance took Ly to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, where he died the following day.

Tran says the day of the dental procedure, Ly's mother was worried about a cold her son was getting over.

"He's still a little bit coughing and she did ask the dentist, the doctor, is it OK to have it done or we can reschedule another day? And he said, no that's fine."

The Dental Board of California confirmed Wednesday that they are investigating the death of a patient at Youthful Tooth in Oakland. There are two licensed dentists registered at the office.

Ly's family held a funeral service for him on Monday. Meanwhile, the Youthful Tooth Office waiting room was packed with families on Thursday.

"I'm very surprised and now I'm worried," said Sharifa Winston, who has been taking her two children to Youthful Tooth for 10 years.

Winston says when her son was 2-years-old he was sedated for a procedure and that they've never experienced any problems. However, she wishes the office told her that they were under investigation.

"I'm thankful that my kids are just here for a checkup, but we may have to go somewhere else from now on."

The California Dental Board has no timetable at this point for their investigation but said in a statement that, "if a violation is found, DBC contacts the Attorney General's Office and pursues license discipline. If nothing is found, the case is closed."

Youthful Tooth has not responded to sister station ABC7's requests for comment.

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