Medical Professionals say Child's Death at Dentist was Preventable

Family and friends gathered at Thomae-Garza funeral home to celebrate the life of 10-year-old Marcos Tirado Jr., a life that was cut too short this week.

And many agree that his death was something that could have been prevented.

"Just for dental work, I don't understand how it could lead to this, said family friend Geniva Harnar. It's very sad."

The 5th grader went in for a routine procedure at Harlingen Family Dentistry on Monday.

The dental staff administered a gas in order to calm Marcos' nerves according to his father, and assured his dad that it was perfectly safe.

Unfortunately, with Marcos TM condition, it proved to be deadly.

He stopped breathing just ten minutes later.

The Lamar Elementary student had Treacher-Collins syndrome. Dr. James Tom, dental anesthesiologist for the University of Southern California, told Action 4 News in a statement that Treacher-Collins is a huge deal that trained pediatric dentists and dental anesthesiologists should be aware of.

He says he would only treat a Treacher-Collins child in a hospital setting with a good amount of backup, as getting into trouble with them anesthetically is highly probable.

Their airways are so tenuous and compromised because of their small jaws, that even breathing normally is a huge problem for these kids.

Dr. Tom says it is very hard to rescue a child from any sort of respiratory depression when they have Treacher-Colllins. An advocate for medical emergency preparedness also reached out to Action 4 News after we broke the tragic story.

Nicole Cunha lost a cousin who passed away due to medical complications during a dental procedure.

"I was really surprised and shocked that another dentist would work on a patient in the office knowing they had this syndrome," said Cunha.

Cunha is the executive director of the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that strives to protect pediatric dental patients.

She wants families and dental groups alike to be knowledgable about how even the simplest of procedures should be administered at a hospital.

"We've been trying for the past few years to really advocate for pediatric patients so that other families wouldn't have to go through what we've been through, said Cunha. It's a very difficult fight, but we're not giving up."