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Former Hawaii dentist testifies in manslaughter trial

November 17, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) — A former dentist on Oahu accused of manslaughter in the death of a 3-year-old patient said she did everything she could to save the child.

Lilly Geyer, 41, told a Hawaii jury Thursday that she directed her dental assistants to call 911 and to get help from a pediatrician across the hall after Finley Boyle’s oxygen level started dropping.

The trial began last month for Geyer, who is accused of recklessly causing Finley’s death after her visit to Island Dentistry for Children in Kailua in December 2013. She died a moth later.

Honolulu Chief Medical Examiner Christopher Happy previously told the court that Finley likely died because of the sedatives given during the dental procedure. The immediate cause was from an infection from being on a ventilator while she was in a coma, he said.

Finley’s mother had taken her to dentist for baby root canals on several teeth. Geyer said she started on the upper teeth and was about to work on the lower ones when Finely stopped breathing. She said she did everything she was trained to do, noting she got certified for pediatric advanced life support every two years.

“Every single person that was involved tried their best. We all did,” Geyer said.

Following the death, Geyer said she searched for the cause and later learned from her indictment that Finley had been diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection that wasn’t disclosed.

“When that came up, my heart sank (because) I knew that was the cause,” Geyer told the court.

If she had been told about the diagnosis, she would have delayed the procedures, she said.

Defense witnesses previously testified that lingering effects of the infection caused the child’s vocal cords to close under sedation.

Witnesses for prosecutors said Finley showed no signs of infection.

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