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Jury finds Hawaii dentist not guilty in 3-year-old’s death

November 24, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) — A former dentist on Oahu has been acquitted of all charges in the death of a 3-year-old patient.

A Hawaii jury found 41-year-old Lilly Geyer not guilty of manslaughter and assault charges, delivering the verdict Friday at the end of a monthlong trial.

Geyer was performing a root canal on Finley Boyle when the child stopped breathing and entered cardiac arrest in December 2013. She died a month later.

Boyle likely died because of the sedatives and anesthesia given during the dental procedure, Honolulu Chief Medical Examiner Christopher Happy testified last month. The immediate cause was from an infection from being on a ventilator, he said.

Geyer’s attorneys argued at trial that Finley’s mother never disclosed the child’s upper respiratory infection, which caused her vocal cords to shut under sedation, cutting off oxygen. Boyle was diagnosed with the infection less than a month before the procedure.

Geyer testified that she would have delayed the operation if she had been told about the diagnosis. Expert witnesses for the prosecution testified that Finley had showed no signs of the infection.

Geyer shut down the Island Dentistry for Children in Kailua after the girl’s death.

“It’s not a day to celebrate, and our hearts go out to Finley Boyle and her family,” attorney Thomas Otake said after the verdict. “We are relieved obviously, though. Our position all along is this should have never ever been a criminal case.”

Prosecutors were not available for comment following the hearing.

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