root canal

Root canal procedure kills three-year-old girl in Hawaii

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: root canal, child death, Hawaii

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(NaturalNews) The family of a three-year-old child who died just days after undergoing a series of "baby" root canals at a Hawaii-based dental practice, which has since closed, is suing for negligence and malpractice. Young Finley Boyle reportedly suffered major brain damage and later died after being given extreme doses of the sedative drugs Demerol (meperidine), hydroxyzine and chloral hydrate by dental assistants who failed to monitor the girl's vital signs for nearly half an hour.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that Finley's injuries and subsequent death occurred after she was sedated at Island Dentistry for Children in Honolulu on December 3, the normal protocol for root canal procedures. Under the care of Dr. Lilly Geyer, who has allegedly had no previous complaints filed against her, the 38-pound Finley was given the maximum doses of both Demerol and hydroxyzine, as well as 40 percent more than the maximum dose of chloral hydrate.

Not long after receiving these excessively high doses of the drugs, Finley lost consciousness and suffered severe brain damage, according to Finley's mother Ashley. But all of this went unnoticed for an astounding 26 minutes, as the dental anesthesiologists at the practice who were supposed to be checking the girl's vital signs every five minutes in accordance with pediatric dentistry guidelines were missing in action.

When it was eventually noticed that Finley's oxygen saturation levels had plummeted some 65 percent as a result of the drugs, staff at the clinic immediately ran down the hall to seek help from a neighboring pediatrician by the name of Dr. Brit Reis. According to the Huffington Post, Dr. Reis found the child sitting upright in her chair with no audible heartbeat, at the same time observing that the staff at Island Dentistry made no effort whatsoever to assemble a resuscitator bag or perform any counter measures to remediate the damage caused by the sedatives.

"It ended up being a massive overdose," stated L. Richard Fried Jr., the family's attorney, noting that young Finley had been given "grossly excessive" doses of the high-risk sedatives.

Young Finley didn't even need the dental procedures she was sedated for, says family

In their court filing, the Boyle family also accuses Dr. Geyer's practice of improperly assessing their daughter's oral health. According to, improper X-rays taken of Finley's mouth revealed cavities that did not even exist, not to mention the four "baby" root canals that followed as a result.

"The problem with the X-rays that Dr. Geyer did is that they were of such poor quality that the dentist I had review them said they were essentially non-diagnostic," stated Fried to reporters, noting that Finley really just had a couple of cavities that would have required minor fillings.

Since the Boyle family filed its lawsuit, which alleges that Island Dentistry staff was improperly trained to handle dental emergencies, the practice itself has officially been shut down without explanation. A landing page on the former Island Dentistry website states that the practice is now "closed permanently," but it does include an email and mailing address where former patients can access their medical records.

When asked about the case, John Nishimoto, the attorney for Dr. Geyer, told that he could not comment on the case as a result of the pending lawsuit. He did, however, vehemently deny the allegations of the Boyle family, referring to them as "unproven."

"Outrageous malpractice," wrote one Huffington Post commenter about the case. "If it's claimed a child has 10 cavities, go get a second opinion. I have never heard of 'baby root canals' and can't imagine a dentist claiming that a child needed four."

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