Marissa Kingery had been undergoing oral surgery at her dentist’s office when she had to be rushed to Lorain’s Mercy Regional Medical Center on Dec. 21, according to her family.
She was later taken to Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, where she was a patient when she died.
“Unfortunately for this family, it started off as a simple dental procedure and turned into a terrible tragedy,” said attorney Michael Czack, who has been retained by Marissa’s family to prepare a possible wrongful death lawsuit.
Czack said it is not yet clear what caused the medical emergency that led to Marissa being taken from the Lorain offices of oral surgeon Henry B. Mazorow in an ambulance.
He said he delivered a letter to Mazorow’s office last week requesting medical records but has not yet received a response.
Mazorow has been practicing since 1956 and is licensed to administer general anesthesia, according to his license with the Ohio State Dental Board. The dental board has no record of disciplinary action against Mazorow.
He did not return calls seeking comment, and his staff declined comment.
Marissa’s mother, Amber McEwen, said she was preparing for work at Cleveland Clinic’s Westlake office the morning of her daughter’s oral surgery and her ex-husband drove Marissa to the appointment.
“She was nervous like anyone would be when they have to put you under for a procedure,” McEwen said. “I told her, ‘Don’t worry, honey, it will be OK.’ ”
Marissa’s father, Jason Kingery of Sheffield Lake, said his emotions are raw over what happened when he took his daughter to Mazorow’s office for removal of two baby teeth and work on a third tooth needed for her orthodontia.
He said he did not want to recount what happened the day of the dental appointment.
“I love my daughter very much — my life will never be the same,” Kingery said.
McEwen said that after she received the call that her daughter had been taken away in an ambulance, she rushed to the hospital and learned that the situation was dire.
Her daughter was unresponsive and had been placed on life support, she said. In the intervening two weeks, the family hoped and prayed, but Marissa never recovered.
An autopsy was performed Monday, but the results are not ready, said Powell Caesar, spokesman for the coroner’s office in Cuyahoga County.
Her parents donated her organs — two kidneys and a liver will be used in hopes that someone else’s child may live.
McEwen said life without her daughter will be very difficult.
“She’s my only child — walking into this house on Monday night was torture, just devastating,” she said.
Marissa, a student at Eastern Heights Middle School, dreamed of becoming a veterinarian and of having a family someday, McEwen said.
McEwen, who also is a substitute teacher in the Elyria Schools, said Marissa was a wonderful daughter who loved her family and friends and doted on her cat Meika and dog Avery.
“She was such a compassionate kid — a beautiful girl inside and out — the best child any mother could wish for,” McEwen said.
Elyria Schools Superintendent Paul Rigda said the school system is grieving, and some events are planned at Eastern Heights to help children cope.
Principal Kim Benetto said counseling has been offered to a number of students, and some were too upset to come to school.
“She took all honors classes and was in the band and choir,” Benetto said. “She was shy, but she had a wonderful personality when she opened up and talked to you — she was an all-around good kid and never had anything bad to say about anything.”
When Marissa was in the hospital, her fellow students formed a Facebook page to share information and prayers, Benetto said.
On Friday, she said children will form a memorial circle at 7 a.m. in the school’s gym and share stories about Marissa.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.