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Kailua girl's death prompts new rules for Hawaii Dentists

Posted: Jan 27, 2014 10:00 PM HST Updated: Jan 28, 2014 4:37 PM HST

By Tannya Joaquin -bio | email

HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) -A young patient’s horror story has prompted changes for Hawaii Dentists.

The state fast-tracked new rules after Finley Boyle’s tragic death. This is how Ashley Boyle described her 3 year old daughter 3 weeks before she died from brain damage on January 3rd. “She was the happiest. The happiest little girl. Completely healthy her whole life.”

The Boyle family attorney Richard Fried said, “This totally normal little girl went in for in large part, unnecessary dental work. There’s no excuse for her not surviving.”

Fried is representing the Boyles in a lawsuit against Dr. Lily Geyer. The suit alleges Finley died due to overdosing of a combination of oral sedatives at Geyer’s now closed Kailua practice, Island Dentistry.

The State responded to the tragedy with new requirements for Dentists that begin today. They must now receive 60 hours training in moderate sedation, perform 20 cases supervised giving moderate sedation, have clinical experience in managing compromised airway, and provide current documentation in advanced life support.”

“I think it’s a good thing” said Pediatric Dentist Dr. Chris Yamada of Diamond Head Children’s Dentistry chooses not to use oral sedation. He believes it’s important to rebuild trust in Dentists and reassure parents that their children are in good hands.

Dr. Yamada added, “Our love and hearts go out to this family, but it was a very isolated situation. 99.9 percent of the Dentists in town are trained correctly and monitoring things correctly.”

Since her death, it’s been said that had Dr. Geyer used a simple monitor and known how to perform CPR, Finley could have survived.

Fried summed up the toddler’s tragic death and need for rules this way, “If these had been followed, we wouldn’t be talking today.”

The lawsuit was initially filed as a personal injury case, but a wrongful death lawsuit will now be pursued. The boyles’ attorney Rick Fried told Hawaii News Now he will request a jury trial.

The following statement is from the American Dental Association:

Although the American Dental Association (ADA) cannot comment on the specifics of the case of a three­year-old girl in Hawaii who died following a root canal procedure, our sympathies go out to her family on this tragic loss.

“Dentists enter the profession to help people and provide care, and this heartbreaking loss is sad indeed,” said Charles Norman, D.D.S., president of the American Dental Association. “Our commitment to safety is apparent in our guidelines and the continuing education we offer.”

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