Texas Family Is Awarded $95m Damages After Blundering Dentist Starved Girl, 4, Of Oxygen


A Texas family has been awarded more than $95 million after daughter, Nevaeh Hall, 10, was blind, paralyzed and unable to speak after visiting the dentist in 2016.

She was a healthy four-year-old girl when her parents took her to Diamond Dentistry in Houston, Texas to have a few teeth chipped and pulled due to tooth decay.

As they waited in the waiting room for hours, their little girl started having seizures, but her dentist, Dr. Bethaniel Jefferson, didn’t raise the alarm and decided to treat her herself instead of calling 911.

Little Nevaeh eventually left the routine appointment in an ambulance and was hospitalized for severe brain damage.

The 269th State District Court in Houston on Thursday held Jefferson liable for her negligence. The family’s lawyer said the jury found the 4-year-old was improperly held and sedated during the visit.

The family also said Jefferson kept Hall away from her parents because she had seizures.

Nevaeh Hall, 10, became paralyzed and unable to speak after visiting the dentist in 2016 to have a tooth pulled

Nevaeh Hall, 10, became paralyzed and unable to speak after visiting the dentist in 2016 to have a tooth pulled

dr. Bethaniel Jefferson was found negligent by a jury in Houston. Jefferson was charged with drugging and depriving the little girl of oxygen

Hall’s mother said she still has aspirations for her daughter, saying ‘I can definitely see her walking and talking again’

One of the family’s attorneys, Jim Moriarty, told ABC Houston: “The problem is, the dentist has long since paid what she could afford. Now, we’re sitting here and we’re screwed’

At the trial, Hall’s parents, Courissa Clark and Derrick Hall, testified that she needs 24-hour medical care.

One of the family’s attorneys, Jim Moriarty, told… ABC Houston: “The problem is that the dentist has long since paid what she could afford. Now we’re sitting here and we’re screwed.’

Jefferson doesn’t have enough insurance or assets to cover the damage.

He continued, “This jury has heard more evidence of corruption in the Medicaid dental system than any jury in this country. After hearing that evidence, they came back with a verdict that said, “Your damage is enormous.”

Moriarty continued, “That’s more than a moral victory. That is a message to every rogue dentist in this country that if you abuse our vulnerable children, if you abuse them, if you steal from taxpayers, we will hold you accountable.”

Hall’s mother was quoted by the station as saying, “It was well worth getting justice for Neveah.” She added that she still has aspirations for her daughter, saying, “I can definitely see her walking and talking again.”

Another family attorney, Ryan Skiver, said: “The evidence at trial was heartbreaking. A 30-pound girl, little more than a toddler, was physically and chemically asphyxiated by an out of control, financially motivated dentist,” reports Click on 2 Houston.

Another, Katherine McCredy, said: “Nevaeh’s parents, Courissa and Derrick, fought bravely for justice. From the beginning of this nightmare until now, they have been urging regulators, law enforcement and elected officials to clean up the dental industry.”

Speaking to Click 2 Houston, Moriarty called Bethaniel Johnson a “rotten denist.”

A criminal trial against Jefferson will begin in October. In 2016, the Texas State Board of Dentistry approved Dr. Jefferson suspended and it appears the practice is closed.

Hall pictured with her mother, Courissa Clark. A family lawyer revealed that Dr. Jefferson administered five sedatives to the 30-pound child during the seven-hour procedure.

In 2016, at a press conference, Clark warned other parents about a fixative the dentist was using to keep her daughter from scurrying around during the procedure.

The device, called a papoose, covers small children like a cocoon, preventing them from moving during a dental procedure.

A family lawyer revealed that Dr. Jefferson administered five sedatives to the 30-pound child during the seven-hour procedure. Four hours of that procedure were spent in the papoose.

About two hours after the procedure, Clark says she heard her daughter cry, so she went into the room to see how she was doing. She wasn’t in the papoose at the time, but she could see her swinging in the dentist’s chair.

“When I went back and saw her, my first question was, ‘Okay, should we call the ambulance or are you all going to call the ambulance?’

And they said, ‘We’re just going to try and calm her down. We’re going to keep an eye on her. We’re going to see her. You have nothing to worry about, but we all need you. to wait in the waiting room and let her rest so she can walk out of here again,” Clark recalled.

“They were just assuring us all the time that everything was okay. The next time we were allowed in was when the paramedics actually came back.’

At the same press conference, Moriarity held up a map showing little Nevaeh’s vital signs during the procedure. At one point, the child’s oxygen levels dropped to 49 percent and her heart rate rose to 196 beats per minute.

Prior to the 2016 incident, Jefferson had been reprimanded by the Texas Dental Board in 2012 and 2005. In November 2016, the Texas Dental Board revoked Jefferson’s license

Hall’s father, Derrick, said in 2016: “It’s heartbreaking. It’s really like… I wouldn’t have thought such a thing would happen in a million years’

“Basically, what has happened is that this child has been chemically and physically suffocated,” said Jim Moriarty. ‘This child has suffered enormous brain damage during that period and that should not have happened.’

At the conference, Nevaeh’s father Derrick Hall burst into tears when he spoke of his daughter with brain damage.

“It’s heartbreaking. It’s really like…I wouldn’t have thought such a thing would happen in a million years,” Hall said KTRK.

In 2017, Jefferson was indicted Monday by a Harris County Grand Jury on charges of knowingly and intentionally failing to cause serious bodily harm to a child by failing to seek and provide adequate medical attention.

The first-degree offense carries a prison sentence of five to 99 years.

Prior to the 2016 incident, Jefferson had been reprimanded by the Texas Dental Board in 2012 and 2005. In November 2016, the Texas Dental Board revoked Jefferson’s license.

“This indictment should be a message to the medical community that they will be held accountable for abandoning their patients in times of crisis,” the assistant attorney general said.

“While healthcare accidents are more common than anyone would like, practitioners should respond appropriately and contact higher-level medical providers when they realize their patient is distressed beyond their means.

“Deliberately allowing a patient to languish for hours after a seizure and severely reduced oxygen levels is a criminal dereliction of duty to the patient.”

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