A family in Arizona is looking for answers after their 2-year-old son mysteriously died after attending a dentist appointment.
Zion Jay Gastelum passed away in Yuma last month after his parents dropped him off at Kool Smiles Dentist on Dec. 16. The family told KGUN-TV that the boy was getting a crown and tooth filling when tragedy struck.
“Everything about him was just lovely,” Zion’s grandmother, Norma Yarrito told the ABC affiliate. “A lovely, lovely little boy.”
Zion seemed to stop breathing either during or after the procedure, according to the family.
He was transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center and then flown to Maricopa County. He died there a few days later on Wednesday, Dec. 20.
Both the cause and manner of death are pending and being handled by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The Yuma fire and Police Department confirmed that they responded to Kool Smiles over a medical issue.
A GoFundMe page was set up by family members to help raise money for funeral costs. As of Jan. 5, it has raised over $3000 out of the $4,500 goal.
“Once we knew that we had lost Zion, his parents Joseph and Veronica honored Zion’s kindness and generosity by donating his organs to other children in need,” the campaign page stated.
Zion’s grandmother told KGUN-TV that her grandson’s funeral services were held on Wednesday, Jan. 3.
“He was just the apple of everybody’s eye and the light in their hearts,” Yarrito said. “He was just so loving that everybody loved him.”
A company spokesman for Kool Smile emailed the following statement to KGUN-TV but declined to comment further.
“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.”
Yarrito remembers how Zion always had a smile on his face. She also has a message for other parents.
“I want them to know that when they take their kid to doctors or a dentist, they need to be present at all times,” she told KGUN-TV. “Just love your kids with all your heart because you never know what’s going to happen.”
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