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Toddler who suffered brain damage during dental visit dies

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 3:04 p.m. HST, Jan 4, 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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