Houston, Texas– A Texas family was awarded $95.5 million after their then 4-year-old daughter suffered brain damage on a dentist visit in 2016. However, the family may never actually collect the money.
After a three-day trial, a jury found former dentist Bethaniel Jefferson to be negligent in treating Nevaeh Hall, who was suffering from drug-induced seizures and lack of oxygen in January 2016 at Houston’s Diamond Dental Practice.
According to a press release from the family’s attorney, Nevaeh was improperly restrained and sedated while being treated for decayed teeth.
Nevaeh’s parents, Courissa Clark and Derrick Hall, also allege Jefferson kept the young girl, now 10, away from her mother after she began having seizures.
The 10-year-old is conscious, but as a result of the incident she needs round-the-clock medical attention as she can no longer see, speak, walk or eat on her own, her family testified at the trial.
“The problem is that the dentist has long since paid the pittance she was able to pay. Now we’re sitting here and we’re screwed,” said Jim Moriarty, one of the family’s attorneys.
The jury’s decision still leaves Clark and Hall to figure out how to care for their severely disabled daughter.
However, Moriarty said it could prevent what happened to Neveah from happening to another child.
“This jury heard more evidence of corruption in the Medicaid dental system than any other jury in this country. After hearing this evidence, they came back with a verdict that said, ‘Your damage is enormous.’ This is more than a moral victory. That’s a message to every corrupt dentist in this country that if you abuse our vulnerable children, if you take advantage of them, if you steal from the taxpayer, we will hold you accountable,” Moriarty said.
“It was definitely worth doing justice to Neveah,” Clark said.
In November 2016, the Texas Dental Board revoked Jefferson’s medical license. A year later, Jefferson was indicted by a Harris County grand jury for willfully and knowingly causing grievous bodily harm to a child by omission by failure to seek and provide adequate medical care.
The trial is scheduled to begin in October.
It’s another attempt at accountability that could bring more justice to a woman who still dreams big for her daughter.
“I can definitely see her walking and talking again,” Clark said.
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https://abc7.com/diamond-dental-practice-bethaniel-jefferson-nevaeh-hall-houston-tx/12256363/ Dentist Bethaniel Jefferson was found negligent after Nevaeh Hall suffered brain damage at the Diamond Dental Practice in Houston, TX