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Wrongful Death of 3-year-old Girl after Dental Procedures in Hawaii

Back on December 3rd, 2013, a 3-year-old child slipped into a coma while under anesthesia at a dentist’s office in Kailua, Hawaii. The young girl suffered massive brain damage after a routine dental procedure. On January 3rd, after being diagnosed by doctors to be in a “persistent vegetative state”, young Finley Boyle died at Hospice Hawaii with her family by her side, according to the Boyle family’s attorney, Rick Fried.

Personal Injury Suit Amended to Wrongful Death, Medical Malpractice Claimed

Fried also explained how the Boyle family initially filed a medical malpractice suit against the children’s dentist who performed the procedures immediately after the accident. Their lawsuit has since been amended to include wrongful death, noted Fried.

Finley’s parents, Ashley and Evan Boyle, filed the personal injury lawsuit last week against Hawaiian dentist Lilly Geyer, 36, and unidentified staff members at Island Dentistry for Children. The suit seeks unspecified damages.  The family’s attorney said that the 3-year-old child was diagnosed by the dentist and scheduled for procedures on at least 10 teeth, including root canals on four teeth and fillings in the others.

In the lawsuit, the Boyle family claims the dental practice made at least four critical errors with the young girl including misdiagnosis, overmedication and inadequate monitoring and resuscitation of the patient. Fried also said that an examination and case review by another dentist later determined that the majority of the dental work was unnecessary.

Improper Anesthesia Monitoring Lead to Severe Brain Injury

According to the lawsuit, Geyer used a combination of three drugs, all central nervous system depressants, and that the combination enhanced the strength of each without appropriate adjustments in dosage. Fried said a dangerously high dose of at least one of these drugs was administered to the child.

Fried also said medical records indicate that after respiratory and oxygen levels in the child were measured early at the start of the procedure, no further measurements or readings were taken for more than 26 minutes. Fried added:

“There was no adequate monitoring of the child’s respirations and oxygen levels during the procedure.”

Finley’s mother Ashley, also a registered nurse, was in the dental office waiting room and wasn’t made aware of any problems until she saw emergency responders arrive. The dental staff also summoned a pediatrician down the hall, according to Fried. The website of Geyer’s dental practice in Kailua, on the island of Oahu, says their office is closed and refers all inquiries to an e-mail address. Their telephone line is reportedly out of service. Lilly Geyer did not respond to the media’s requests for comments.

Geyer’s attorney, John Nishimoto, declined comment referred to the allegations as “unproven.” Nishimoto said in an e-mailed statement:

“As this matter is now the subject of a pending lawsuit, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on any of the unproven allegations that have been reported to the media. Therefore, I cannot comment at this time.”

Fried told members of the press that young Finley was moved over to the hospice center in the last week of December. After the girl’s passing, Ashley Boyle told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

“We were all hoping. Even the doctors are in tears.” 


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