Yuma boy dies after local dental visit

Child dies after dentist appointment

YUMA, Ariz. - A Yuma family is mourning the loss of their two-year-old child, after he died following a dental appointment in Yuma last December.


ABC 15 in Phoenix spoke with Zion Gastelum's uncle, who said that on December 16 the child's parents took him to Kool Smiles in Yuma, to get a crown and a filling. What happened next remains unclear, but Zion's uncle said that while at the office it appears Zion stopped breathing. 


Yuma fire and Yuma police confirmed to News 11 that they did respond to the Kool Smiles that day due to a medical issue, but could not comment any further. 


Zion's family said the boy was taken from the dentist to Yuma Regional Medical Center. Eventually he was flown to Maricopa County, where he died on December 20.


Officials told ABC 15 the cause and manner of death are pending, citing HIPAA and other privacy laws.


News 11 reached out to a Kool Smiles representative, and they shared the following statement:


"The Kool Smiles family expresses our sincere, heartfelt sympathy to the family of Zion Gastelum. Our hearts are breaking for Zion's family at this very sad time. Since Kool Smiles' founding nearly twenty years ago, we have safely and compassionately provided needed dental care through more than 19 million patient visits. Our dedicated dentists, anesthesiologists and the rest of our Kool Smiles family join the community to mourn this tragic loss."


Zion's grandmother, Norma Yarrito, shared with ABC 15 the memories she has about her grandson. Yarrito said, "Zion was a very happy, joyful and peaceful little boy he was full of love."


She also offered this advice to other parents. "When they take their kids to doctors or dentists they need to be present at all times and just love your kids with all your heart because you never know what's going to happen."

ABC 15 said the family is talking to an attorney. And it is still not known exactly what happened inside Kool Smiles.


A GoFundMe account has been set up for Zion. If you'd like to contribute click here.

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