Araceli Avila, age 30, and Jose Hernandez, age 30, took their toddler daughter to the dentist on Monday in Stockton, CA. The couple had no reason to expect that they would not see their daughter alive. But, when they next saw 3-year-old Daleyza Avila-Hernandez she was, in fact, dead.

Their daughter died under anesthesia from her dental treatment performed at Children’s Dental Surgery Center in Stockton. Two tooth extractions, two molars removed, and two teeth capped is what she was scheduled to have done.

Her parents were in the waiting room until the arrival of an ambulance. Avila had no idea that the ambulance being there was related to her daughter.

However, the 7:45 a.m. appointment took a heartbreaking turn when a nurse went to the waiting area and took the toddler’s parents aside and told them that Daleyza’s heart had stopped and that she was being taken to the hospital. The nurse also said that the toddler was in stable condition.

Toddler was very healthy, mother says

The nurse told the couple that maybe their little girl had an underlying heart problem that they weren’t aware of and reassured that they needn’t worry. Avila stated, though, her daughter was very healthy.

The dental clinic, where Daleyza went for dental care, is an ambulatory surgery center that provides dentistry under general anesthesia for children, David Thompson, the clinic’s administrator said during a news conference held on Thursday.

Children who cannot sit still in a dental chair or who are there by referral generally have “extremedental needs.

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Thompson sad, the policy affecting parents is that they cannot be in the operating room. In addition, all treatment is done in one visit so that families don’t have to make multiple trips.

Thompson said Daleyza was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center, which is where she died. He stated that it’s a terrible tragedy. Out of the thousands of children treated at the clinic every year, Monday was the first time that a child-patient had died.

Spokesman for the Stockton Police Department, Officer Joe Silva verified on Thursday that there is an investigation, yet offered no details. He said police are conducting a child death investigation and it is an active investigation, yet it seems nothing criminal happened.

Thompson noted that the clinic maintains its state compliance and follows standards that are federal from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. (AAAHC). The clinic is licensed and certified by the AAAHC. Procedures take place with a dentist, a nurse, two assistants, and an anesthesiologist present.

Though Avila read and filled out disclosure forms that were in Spanish, she said she feels that rather than having written clinical forms, she signed Daleyza’s “death warrant.”

Little girl’s aunt wants answers

The toddler’s aunt, Yolanda Dawson, said that she was a bright little girl who loved life. She described her as beautiful, fun, full of life, and vivacious. Dawson said that she has contacted the Dental Board of California, since her niece’s death on Monday, and questions how come the toddler’s parents were not allowed in the operating room with their little girl. She also wants to know why her niece was having multiple procedures all on the same day.

Funeral services for Daleyza are scheduled for next week. Avila said that she hopes similarly doesn’t happen to another mother “out there.”