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East Bay couple faces power of California dental lobby after son, 6, dies during procedure By Laurel Rosenhall, CALmatters POSTED: 04/24/2016 09:25:59 PM PDT | UPDATED: 6 DAYS AGO Eliza and Tim Sears, of Albany, listen as an Assembly committee considers a bill in response to the death of their 6ÂyearÂold son, Caleb. He died after he was placed under general anesthesia for a dental procedure. (Laurel Rosendall) SACRAMENTO ÂÂ After their 6ÂyearÂold son died following a dental procedure, an Albany couple went to the California Legislature, hoping a new law could prevent other families from experiencing similar tragedy. What they've found is that dentists hold surprising sway in Sacramento ÂÂ more, it seems, than grieving parents making a plea for change. The California Dental Association spent about $664,000 lobbying in California last year ÂÂ more than the "The (dental) association is an influential group," said Assemblyman Tony Thurmond. DRichmond, who is carrying the legislation. "I knew this would be a hard bill." (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group) Advertisement pharmaceutical industry trade group or the association for Hollywood movie studios. Dentists and related professional organizations are also big political donors, pouring at least $12 million over the past five years into California races. They spend millions on superÂPACÂstyle independent campaigns and have given donations to every lawmaker on the committee that recently watered down the Albany couple's bill. "The (dental) association is an influential group," said Assemblyman Tony Thurmond. DÂRichmond, who is carrying the legislation. "I knew this would be a hard bill." In March 2015, Tim and Eliza Sears brought their son to an oral surgeon in Albany to remove a tooth that was growing in the wrong spot in his mouth. Caleb Sears, a kindergartner, was under general anesthesia because the procedure involved cutting into the bone on the roof of his mouth, his father said. The family now believes the anesthesia ended Caleb's life. "We had a whole conversation about the risks of general anesthesia versus the trauma of doing it without anesthesia," Tim Sears said. "But we had no clue that the method ... would be different than it would be in any other medical setting. And that's what we're trying to push for ÂÂ for parents to be given that information." Since Caleb's death, the family has learned that oral surgeons are the only medical professionals allowed to both administer anesthesia and perform surgery. Those duties are separated in hospitals. The executive officer of the state's Dental Board, which is responsible for disciplinary actions, accused Dr. Michael Doucet in February of "gross negligence" in Caleb's treatment. Doucet denied it and is allowed to continue practicing while the case to revoke his license is pending.