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Toddler who suffered brain damage during dental visit dies

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 03:04 p.m. HST, Jan 04, 2014

Finley Puleo Boyle, the 3-year-old girl who suffered massive brain damage during a visit to a Kailua dentist last month, died Friday night.

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce that at 8:47 p.m. last night, Finley Boyle passed away with her family at her side," said a statement on behalf of her family issued by Hospice Hawaii.

The family asked for privacy and thanked the public for their support and prayers.

Finley's parents, Ashley and Evan Boyle, filed a lawsuit Monday in First Circuit Court against Dr. Lilly Geyer, Island Dentistry for Children and unidentified staff members, alleging negligence and dangerous conduct in sedating Finley and failing to prepare for medical emergencies. The suit seeks general and special damages in amounts to be proved at trial.

Ashley Boyle, 30, a registered nurse, brought her daughter to Island Dentistry for Finley's first dental exam in November. She hadn't complained of any pain, and was cheerful throughout the visit, Boyle said. Afterward, Geyer said the child had 10 cavities and needed four root canals, according to the family and Boyles' attorney, L. Richard Fried Jr.

Fried said earlier this week that it appears that most of the work was unnecessary.

Ashley Boyle brought her only child back Dec. 3 and was told to stay in the waiting room while Finley was given oral sedatives and then propped in the dentist chair. A technician administered the drugs before the dentist arrived and began the procedure. Just two teeth were prepared for treatment before the situation spiraled downhill, according to Fried.

Boyle said she became aware of what was going on only when she saw emergency responders arrive on the other side of a glass door, and rushed to her daughter's side. The staff had summoned a pediatrician down the hall for help and called 911, she said.

At a news conference Thursday, Boyle and Fried said Finley was being cared for at Hospice Hawaii's Kailua facility.

"We're just trying to keep a positive vibe in the room for her," Boyle said Thursday. "We speak to her, sing to her, play music for her all day. We have had a lot of support from the community."

Geyer, the dentist who oversaw Boyle's care, and her staff have not responded to phone calls or email messages from the Star-Advertiser seeking their side of the story earlier this week. All calls go straight to a voicemail advising callers to send an email.

The Island Dentistry for Children office in a Kailua professional building has been shuttered.

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leino wrote:
Doctors practice medicine very sadly they do not perfect it.
on January 4,2014 | 06:40AM
false wrote:
This is an example of over the top negligence. What can you trust? Can't imagine the grief these parents are experiencing. Finley is a poster child for bright and beautiful. We will miss her. Condolences to all.
on January 4,2014 | 06:51AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
I would say "criminal" . Why is there no word from Police or the prosecutor about manslaughter or negligent homicide charges? This dentist is clearly incompetent and caused this child's death. They need to pay for such actions, the dentist and
on January 4,2014 | 10:15PM
LanaAloha wrote:
I can't imagine anything worse as a parent than to go through what these parents are enduring. It's every parents worst nightmare.
on January 5,2014 | 01:59AM
sayer wrote:
Doing in-office sedations is risky. My daughter had several cavities at the age of 2 and 9 months. I guess it was just genetic because she never ate sugar more than a few times a year. The first dentist I took her to said the only way to get them filled was to sedate her - similar to what this Kailua dentist did. I was really freaked out about the whole thing and as luck would have it, I missed her first appointment and they told me I could never go back there. So I was visiting a relative shortly after that in Washington, DC and I figured there would be excellent pediatric dentists there. I got an appointment and took her to the dentist there and he said the in-office sedations are totally unsafe and that he would only do sedated work in the hospital. I told him no way could I afford $5,000 for hospital sedation so I asked him if he would try to do the work without any sedation and he said he would give it a try. So with some chamomile tea and plenty of bribes on hand, I took my daughter to her first appointment. It was a little hard but the dentist and assistants were amazing and within 3 appointments (in the space of a week) all her cavities were filled and to this day, she loves going to the dentist. Anytime you do sedation there is a risk and I think all parents should be aware of that.
on January 4,2014 | 10:33AM
HiNaihe808 wrote:
good to know. Mahalo.
on January 5,2014 | 05:16AM
joewilly wrote:
From Yelp.com: wish I could give her negative stars. This dentist is a crook, and should have her license taken away ASAP. I saw her a few years ago and she told me I needed an exorbitant amount of fillings. I had bad dental anxiety at the time, and trusted her. Since, I have had nothing but extra issues with my teeth. I've had 3 other dentists look at my previous X-rays and tell me that the fillings were unnecessary. Greedy, greedy, greedy!!! Now, she will get what she deserves-a life of shame, guilt and sleepless nights.
on January 4,2014 | 03:24PM
palolo2001 wrote:
How can a 3 year old girl need all those root canals? Don't 3 year olds have just baby teeth that will fallout anyway? What kind of dentist was this?
on January 4,2014 | 06:47AM
localguy wrote:
Sad to say there are many unprofessional, dysfunctional, dentists who will do anything to keep the money rolling in. Anytime a dentist gives your child this kind of diagnosis, good idea to get a second or third opinion.
on January 4,2014 | 06:53AM
mcc wrote:
Exactly, especially this was her first visit to a dentist. 10 cavities and 4 root canals???The mother is a nurse and should know better.
on January 4,2014 | 10:13AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
No she shouldn't know better. I'm sure Mom's very professional and she expected the dentist to be too.
on January 4,2014 | 11:46AM
palolo2001 wrote:
What kind of mom/nurse lets her child have root canals on baby teeth that have no roots?
on January 4,2014 | 11:42PM
cojef wrote:
Big Bucks from birth to old age, guaranteed. Visit my dentist every 3 months to have them cleaned. Amazing how they try and peddle all kinds of test and gadgets. Fortunately my HMO has a insignificant dental coverage so I pay $20 twice and the other 2 times $80. This tragedy was in the making probably from the beginning in using sedative on a 3 year old. Agree, the root canals on baby teeth seems superfluous. In my lifetime had only one root canal and had many extractions, plus partials made, but as an adult.
on January 4,2014 | 07:12AM
honopic wrote:
Nobody cares about your dental history, cojef, and it is not relevant to this story. Just as you bragging in another post that you drive a Mercedes had nothing to do with that story. Usually, all you do is grumble and stick your nose in where it doesn't belong. Please spare us your drivel. What happened to this little girl is tragic and the issue is whether the dentist used the fact that it was her first visit to do unnecessary work, and pad her bill. In hindsight, the claim of 10 cavities and need of 4 root canals should have set off an alarm, but Mrs. Boyle was trying to do what she thought best for her daughter's health.
on January 4,2014 | 11:37AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Are you whacked??? A child died!
on January 4,2014 | 10:19PM
Just what I was thinking.
on January 4,2014 | 07:28AM
dancingcat wrote:
I'm so sorry for her parents...Who wouldn've thunk!!! My 2nd thought was: how could a little girl of 3 yrs require 6 root canals anyway?!? I hope this dentist is banned from practicing forever! I can imagine her guilty feelings but nevertheless...poor judgement on her part!
on January 4,2014 | 07:31AM
dlum003 wrote:
TV news report said she was having 4 root canals and filling 10 cavities ... isn't that a lot? Either the dentist was soaking these people for unnecessary procedures or her parents fed her candy and soda day and night.
on January 4,2014 | 08:31AM
sayer wrote:
My daughter had several cavities at that age and we ate sugar about 3 times a year. Sometimes it's genetic.
on January 4,2014 | 10:35AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Exactly, why would you do a root canal on baby teeth??? Sounds like she was trying to run the bill up with unneeded treatment. This is criminal behavior, the dentist and technician should be in jail for negligent homicide. Where's Kanashiro when you need him? Probably chasing a prostitute or illegal gaming machine.
on January 4,2014 | 10:18PM
paniolo wrote:
My deepest ALOHA to her ohana.
on January 4,2014 | 07:02AM
laeboy wrote:
I am so sorry for your loss.
on January 4,2014 | 07:10AM
itsok wrote:
My sorrow and love to the Boyle Ohana....and also to the dentistry staff and doctor. We are all human. May we learn from human mistakes.
on January 4,2014 | 07:12AM
kuniagirl wrote:
If negligent homicide can be applied here, the dentist needs to be charged. Unless we are going to prohibit use of potent anesthesia in most dentist's office without a fully licensed anesthesiologist (an idea), we're going to have to use the threat of incarceration as a deterrent to dangerously amateurish actions. What did this dentist read "Sedation for Dummies?". Civil lawsuits are not enough. She or her business more likely will simply declare bankruptcy. And no, it's not ok to say that she just made a mistake. People make bad mistakes/decisions all the time, kill someone, and end up behind bars. How the H* could this little girl go without sufficient oxygen for so long?
on January 4,2014 | 08:09AM
inverse wrote:
This story should rightly be made the lead story. The results should be: -Hold accountable this dentist and her very questionable practices. Putting her in jail would be difficult but the parents should successfully sue this dentist for every cent she is worth and leave her bankrupt and never able to practice dentistry anywhere in the US again. That would be fair justice in a civilized society. - Parents need to be made aware of a very questionable potential trend with dentists giving very young children root canals, when not too long ago, it was almost unheard and most kids teeth came out okay in their adulthood. Is it possible parents that are so obsessed on giving their children the very "best" possible dental and health care will allow themselves to be railroaded into exposing their children to unnecessary and/or incredibly dangerous elective procedures?
on January 4,2014 | 08:10AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
My deep condolences. I asked my dentist years ago, why don't you use anesthetics and he said its difficult to control during dentistry.
on January 4,2014 | 08:10AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
You don't give sedatives and anesthetics to a 3 yr old, I'm not a doctor but it seems like common sense. I've never received anything more than a novacaine shot to numb the area, WTH is this dentist giving drugs to a 3 yr old for??? This is criminal incompetence, the same as the doctor who killed Michael Jackson.
on January 4,2014 | 10:25PM
mongoosa wrote:
Deepest condolences to the family of Finley. My granddaughter could have been another victim at the same age of three. She wouldn't open her mouth and the same dentist held her head and tried to pry her mouth open. My granddaughter was so terrorized she vomited so nothing further was done. Her first experience at this dentist was horrifying to her, but in hindsight she was lucky to have escaped. Hopefully there is some message here to so called "health professionals". Finley's death is a sad day for all of Hawaii.
on January 4,2014 | 08:13AM
hukihei wrote:
My granddaughter similarly never went back after her day of "drugging". I sat outside with her mother and wondered at how changed the world had become and felt so uncomfortable about the entire process. In hindsight, I should have used my good sense to really question what was happening. Never again.
on January 4,2014 | 09:26AM
sayer wrote:
Yes what's weird is I had this issue with my first child and the first dentist told us if we didn't sedate her she would never want to see another dentist in her life. I took her to another dentist who said in-office sedation is too risky. He agreed to try to do the work with no sedation. So I gave her headphones with her favorite music, chamomile tea and the promise of many bribes. The dentist worked very quickly and ended the appointment each time he could tell she'd had enough. On the way home I would buy her a milkshake (ironic, I know but we eat sugar about 3 times a year and I really wanted to reward her for her good behavior.) We did all the cavities in 3 appointments over a week. To this day, she LOVES going to the dentist. I would not personally ever allow my child to undergo in-office sedation after all I've seen. The dentist I saw who wanted to do that also said they basically put the child in a straight jacket. It sounds horrible.
on January 4,2014 | 10:39AM
joseph007 wrote:
10 cavities and 4 root canals. Didn't the parents EVER have the child use a toothbrush. I certainly don't blame the parents for the dentist and her assistant who certainly over dosed the baby with drugs. BUT 10 cavities and 4 root canals, what did the child eat, candy, sugar and wash it down with soda all day long?
on January 4,2014 | 08:27AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
The dentist allegedly claimed the child had 10 cavities and 4 root canals. This may have been told to the girl's mother to get more procedures done thus increase the dentist's profit margin. Please stop blaming the little girl's mother! She is beyond devastated!
on January 4,2014 | 09:09AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Joseph, not all cavities are a result of overloads on sugar. Your intelligence lacks. Could be a calcium deficiency in the child or more acid secretion in saliva. To say the parent did not monitor the candy and soda intake, especially in the affluent Kailua area is just stupid on your part.
on January 4,2014 | 09:09AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Joseph, maybe the cavities came from calcium deficiencies or active saliva glands. Don't be to quick to blame the parents, geez. Condolences to the family.
on January 4,2014 | 09:15AM
bumba wrote:
Joseph, get your head out of your rear end and keep your eye on the ball.
on January 4,2014 | 10:26AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Unless it is a genetic condition the parents would be completely to blame for not administering and teaching proper hygiene. Proper hygiene has many components, of which, brushing and diet are only one piece of a very large pie.
on January 4,2014 | 11:19AM
bumba wrote:
Oh geez, what a t w a t you are.
on January 4,2014 | 01:54PM
kiragirl wrote:
So what is your point?
on January 4,2014 | 03:30PM
oldertimer808 wrote:
What a thoughtless and dumb comment.
on January 4,2014 | 08:35PM
dlum003 wrote:
Aw, terrible. Man if that happened to my child, those people would have to do dental work on themselves. Condolences to the family of this precious little girl
on January 4,2014 | 08:29AM
First-Responder wrote:
There needs to be a comprehensive review of outpatient conscious sedation statewide. Practices vary from well-managed (licensed personnel, biomedical monitors, crash carts) to shoot from the hip. Let's not let this happen again!
on January 4,2014 | 08:34AM
sayer wrote:
on January 4,2014 | 10:39AM
Hugo wrote:
The dangers of general anesthesia. Queens prefers to use local anesthesia, Kaiser preferred to knock me out twice, against my verbal demands that they not knock me out, and then knocked me out. Twice.
on January 4,2014 | 08:40AM
sayer wrote:
General anesthesia is far more risky.
on January 4,2014 | 10:39AM
primowarrior wrote:
Heartbreaking. My condolences to Finley's family.
on January 4,2014 | 08:57AM
matsudo wrote:
I am saddened to hear of this unfortunate occurrence. My heart and condolences go out to Finley's family. Something sure seems fishy with the dentist.
on January 4,2014 | 08:58AM
jojobear wrote:
I feel for the parents for this unfortunate death but to have that many cavities and being only three years old what kind of food was her parents feeding her in the first place for god sakes she's a nurse doesn't she have any common sense as to what she is feeding her daughter.
on January 4,2014 | 09:02AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
The dentist allegedly claimed the child had 10 cavities and 4 root canals. This may have been told to the girl's mother to get more procedures done thus increase the dentist's profit margin. Please stop blaming the little girl's mother! She is beyond devastated!
on January 4,2014 | 09:09AM
Mikilai wrote:
don't judge her parents based on her cavities. My son loved to snack and drink lots of milk he also brushed his teeth every day but he still had 15 cavities. They claimed because he didnt take his flouride pills.
on January 4,2014 | 09:23AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Dentists will say that its ether genetics or poor hygiene. If it is poor hygiene then the parents are completely to blame. Brushing teeth is not enough and if your son's 15 cavities are not due to genetics, then you should take the responsibility of seeing a professional. Your son's track record is not in any way normal.
on January 4,2014 | 11:15AM
oldertimer808 wrote:
Please where do you people come from with all these thoughtless and a better word stupid comments. The child has passed on and the parents are in mourning. Keep your judgements to yourself.
on January 4,2014 | 08:39PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
My aloha goes out to this precious little girl's 'ohana especially to her parents who are going through a lot right now.
on January 4,2014 | 09:12AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
This poor child's teeth apparently were rotten to the core due to either a genetic condition or severe parental neglect. In the event this was negligence by the parents (failure to insist on dental hygiene or limit sodas), they have unfortunately paid a price too high. If anyone has ever had anesthesia you know that the fine print in the form you sign clearly states death being a possibility. Sadly, there will be people benefiting from this terrible event - the attorneys on both sides. This whole thing should be settled out of court through arbitration or plea.
on January 4,2014 | 09:15AM
Kapaho wrote:
How do you know that the child's teeth were rotten to the core? Were you in the dentist office watching the procedure?
on January 4,2014 | 06:00PM
oldertimer808 wrote:
You should stop making these assumptions.
on January 4,2014 | 08:41PM
environmental_lady wrote:
I feel so sorry for the poor toddler and her family. The dentist and her technician should be arrested at once for negligent murder before they flee to the mainland to be never seen again. Why isn't the police acting?
on January 4,2014 | 09:21AM
RichardCory wrote:
Because our society isn't run by insane people such as yourself?
on January 4,2014 | 01:04PM
environmental_lady wrote:
What's a matter with you calling me insane? Why did I say that sounded so insane? What you said sounded insane. Or are you just trying to tease?
on January 4,2014 | 04:21PM
Mikilai wrote:
I never choose a dentist where they dont let you come in to sit with your child or watch the procedure from beginning to end. My heart is so broken for this family, condolences from Maui.
on January 4,2014 | 09:21AM
Kapaho wrote:
I agree about the part where a family member should accompany the child or watch the procedure especially at such a young age.
on January 4,2014 | 05:59PM
This is horriible news! I am a registered pharmacist and am appalled that a tech administered the injection. In Florida, and probably more states only someone that is certified can give injections- in Florida that's MD'S,DO'S RN'S, DENTISTS AND PHARMACISTS. If the injection was drawn up by the tech this could be a recipe for an overdose easily as calculating a dose for such a small child is very critical to be very accurate. Also in Florida, and it is in most states, it is a LAW for a dentist to have an emergency kit on hand with epinephrine, etc in case something like this happens until the ambulance arrives. Malpractiice insurance will not cover a dentists obvious negligent office procedures unfortunately for the grieving family. It seems a little overdoing it to do such extensive dental work on a 3 year old although I am not a dentist. When I was in pharmacy school, I was taught not to give Choral Hydrate to someone that young- it is extremely sedateing, stays in the system over a long period of time, and reduces oxgen to the patient by at least 6%. The latest thought on this is it can be given only with a professional opinion by the prescriber. The curricullum in dental school when I was in pharmacy school was only 1 quarter of pharmacology during the 4 years of dental school concerning all drugs known. I sure hope it is longer now as dentists usually just know about antibiotics and pain killers for dentistry. Did this dentist do a residency in pediatric dentistry? You expect to get honest answers to your health problems when you go see your doctor or dentist, unfortunately the U.S.A. is the most expensive place in the world to get health care, not due to the fear of getting sued- the real answer is these people are usually in the profession to make lots of money, not to better the world-don't kid yourself. Cultivate a relationship with a good pharmacist to help you make decisions about your health- we'll be glad to help you with an unbiased opinion that will hopefully help you make up your mind.
on January 4,2014 | 09:28AM
johnkailua wrote:
Extremely tragic...words can't express what I would feel if it was my daughter, abruptly and unexpectedly taken away from me. I would be numb forever. But, just a word of wisdom to the medical professionals, be careful how you manage your patients or be faced in a situation like this. Foremost, treat them like family.The media blitz, public outcry and hysteria is to be expected after a tragedy as this. I feel for the dentist and her staff as this wasn't their intention or outcome as they proceeded. Their lives are also scared and tarnished forever. My deep condolences for the parents suffering this deep loss for a child full of life, that should have had many more to come. Time is the only answer to heal the wounds of those suffering. Though time wasn't what Ashley Bolyle had she made us aware of how precious life is.. She will be in our thoughts and prayers forever....
on January 4,2014 | 09:42AM
P.S. Please drug test the dentist ASAP.
on January 4,2014 | 09:49AM
akio wrote:
My heart goes out to the Boyle Family, I can't imagine the pain of losing a child.
on January 4,2014 | 09:52AM
gwanma wrote:
Our deep sympathy to the parents and family of Finley Boyle. So beautiful, so precious. We have a 2 year old and cannot imagine the pain this mother is going through right now. May God grant her peace and healing in the years to come.
on January 4,2014 | 09:59AM
P.S.S. Drug test the tech who was practicing medicine, also.
on January 4,2014 | 10:09AM
Kuokoa wrote:
Rest in peace, Finley!
on January 4,2014 | 10:30AM
manoamist wrote:
We scream to heaven and earth and directly into the face of the wind that no parent should should be a witness to their beautiful only child's death, especially in this manner.
on January 4,2014 | 10:40AM
palolo2001 wrote:
Can a dentist go to jail for this, like for negligence?
on January 4,2014 | 01:03PM
WKAMA wrote:
A 3 year old with 10 cavities and needed three root canals?
on January 4,2014 | 02:38PM
Skyler wrote:
Sad to hear this - for the Mom & daughter. So sad to read some of the asinine comments on here blaming the Mom, too. Where's your compassion? :-(
on January 4,2014 | 03:37PM
Kapaho wrote:
No ways a three year old child can have 10 cavities and in need of 4 root canals. Total incompetence on the part of the dentist and her staff. My condolence to the family. A law suit is a small consolation for what they have to endure for the rest of their lives.
on January 4,2014 | 05:57PM
Sandybeach wrote:
Heartbreaking. Best to the Boyle family.
on January 4,2014 | 06:04PM
jeanneam wrote:
Very, very sad. What unbearable grief for her parents. My heart goes out to them. I wish they could have their little girl back, healthy and safe and sound.
on January 4,2014 | 06:41PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Some good could come of this if her organs were donated to other children her age or size?
on January 4,2014 | 08:08PM
tutulois wrote:
This is so sad. I was once the intended victim of a dentist who, when I was on the mainland visiting friends, prescribed multiple root canals. I decided to wait. My regular dentist in Honolulu said I didn't need any, and he was right. Especially when young children are involved, parents need to get second opinions when such drastic measures are suggested by a doctor or dentist. This dentist definitely needs to be investigated and probably charged.
on January 5,2014 | 07:34AM
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