Hawaiian girl, 3, dies after dental procedure

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Finley Boyle

(CNN) – Finley Boyle, a 3-year-old Hawaii girl who suffered massive brain damage after undergoing a dental procedure last month died Friday night, a hospice said Saturday.

The girl died with her family by her side, said Kenneth L. Zeri, president and chief professional officer of Hospice Hawaii.

“There are few greater privileges in life than to accompany someone on their end-of-life journey, providing comfort and support not only to that person but also to their loved ones,” the statement said. “As with all of our patients, we were truly blessed to be able to be there for The Boyle Family and for Finley at the end of her journey.”

Finley’s parents are suing a Kailua, Hawaii, dentist, alleging negligence and dangerous conduct.

The lawsuit, filed against Lilly Geyer and her practice, Island Dentistry for Children, alleges improper medications with incorrect dosages were administered to the girl on December 3, according to court documents filed this week.

“As a direct and proximate result of the medications administered to (Finley) by defendants, (Finley) suffered cardiac arrest during her dental procedure,” the lawsuit says.

It alleges that, as a further result of improper medications, Finley “suffered severe and permanent brain damage.”

Neither Geyer nor her attorney, John Nishimoto, responded to CNN’s requests for comment. The Island Dentistry website states it has been permanently closed and directs patients to an e-mail address.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Hawaii’s First Circuit Court, alleges that Geyer had no plan in place to respond to medical emergencies, such as the one Finley suffered. It seeks unspecified damages.

Finley’s mother, Ashley Boyle, said she first took her daughter to the dentist in November, when she was told her daughter needed six fillings and four root canals, she said.

They returned in December to undergo the root canals, Boyle said.

The parents allege that Finley was sedated and left unmonitored for 26 minutes.

Finley was moved from a hospital to the hospice in late December.

Finley’s pediatric neurologist, Dr. Gregory Yen, said MRIs showed the girl suffered severe brain damage and that she was in a “persistent vegetative state.”

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  • Crystal Finkle

    why would a 3 year old need root canals and fillings? they’re baby teeth they’re going to fall out anyway…what the hell is the matter with people!

    • Kristina Moss

      Tooth decay left untreated on baby teeth can cause new tooth development delay and decay on any new teeth…letting the teeth rot out can also cause problems with alignment on permanent teeth…my niece and nephew both had to undergo dental procedures at a very young age and it was not due to poor hygiene or eating habits. They both were born with weak enamel and believe it or not many children suffer from it. I believe that it was negligent for the child to be left unattended and I don’t think a dentist is prepared for a medical emergency including any kind of reaction to medication…not to mention maybe these procedures should have been broken up into more than one visit…either way parents trust physicians and whether medical or dental .. after all they are supposed to be the professional with the degree…

  • Amy

    Exactly Crystal, I was thinking the same thing. Why would a 3 year need any kind dental work… Nothing against the mother, but she should have seriously questioned that dentist why ANY dental work is needed knowing they are going to fall out! The parents should sue the dentist office!!!!! Prayers sent to that family

  • dcy

    Tooth decay is caused by poor diet and dental hygiene. Yes, a second opinion would have been prudent. But better parenting might of made this whole conversation moot.

  • RMBFKids

    Finley’s catastrophe illustrates a far larger problem. Most dental offices in America are not prepared to

    manage a medical emergency (regardless of whether it is anesthesia related or not). The answer is NOT

    depriving children of needed dental care. That’s cruel and immoral. Appropriately trained dental

    professionals should be allowed to utilize anesthesia and sedation in a proper setting. The answer is not

    doing dentistry without anesthesia, as a variety of anesthesia methods including various sedation techniques

    are necessary to treat the wide variety of dental needs with which patients present. The answer is that the

    EVERY American dental office should be prepared to handle a medical emergency. Experts agree dental offices

    need to be prepared in six area collectively called The Six Links of Survival. Finley’s story should make

    everyone in America write the American Dental Association and their state dental board demanding

    implementation of medical emergency preparedness standards. We ALL need this protection.

  • Generic

    If she needed dental work it was to save her adult teeth for growing in rotten. He could’ve pulled all the damaged teeth and the child would’ve been alive but instead he say money from treatment and anesthesia cost. He life was taken out of greed. He needs to get what he deserve for poor and improper practice as well as the assistant who left the angle unattended

  • Tiffany Santivasci

    Why does a three year old need these procedures. Could have been prevented. By the parents. Proper dental care begins at home, nt at the dentist.

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