HONOLULU (AP) — A former Oahu dentist has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and other charges related to the 2014 death of a 3-year-old girl who suffered cardiac arrest during a dental procedure.
A grand jury indicted Lilly Geyer on 37 counts last month, including manslaughter, medical assistance fraud and assault. She denied the charges Monday, KHON-TV reported (http://bit.ly/2dpbv1E).
The indictment stems from events involving several patients at Island Dentistry for Children in Kailua dating back to 2013. The practice has since closed.
The patient who died, Finley Boyle, was found to have lapsed into a coma after receiving an array of sedatives and anesthesia in preparation for cavity fillings and root canals. An autopsy report determined the cardiac arrest was likely the result of the five drugs, which included Demerol, hydroxyzine and chlorohydrate. She was also given laughing gas and an injection of a local anesthetic, lidocaine with epinephrine, the report said.
The Honolulu medical examiner classified the death as an accident.
Geyer’s insurance company settled a lawsuit by the Boyle family for an undisclosed amount.
Defense Attorney Michael Green said Geyer should’ve never faced criminal charges.
“The tragedy of this death was compounded by the tragedy of charging a doctor criminally,” Green said. “This child dies over a month after she leaves the office. The issue and cause of death will be something we’ll discuss and litigate in this case.”
University of Hawaii law professor Ken Lawson said the case could have broader implications for other doctors and their practice.
“When you start charging physicians and other professions with criminal wrongdoing, then you’re going to have professionals turning away patients, saying ‘I don’t want to take the chance. I could be criminally charged,'” Lawson said.
Geyer’s trial is set for Dec. 5.
Information from: KHON-TV, http://khon.com