Family of brain damaged 4-year-old girl files civil suit against dentist

Nevaeh Hall

HOUSTON – The parents of 4-year-old Nevaeh Hall have filed a lawsuit against Dr. Bethaniel Jefferson.

Courissa Clark and Derrick Hall are hoping the civil suit will bring some justice for their daughter, who suffered severe brain damage during a routine trip to the dentist.

The suit alleges Nevaeh was strapped to a "papoose board" and given large doses of anesthetic and sedatives. She began to seize and shake violently.

The suit said Jefferson ignored signs that her brain was suffering from a severe lack of oxygen.

"In essence what happened is this child was chemically and physically suffocated," said Jim Moriarty, the attorney for the family. "This child suffered massive brain damage during that time period and that didn't have to happen."

Jefferson has a history of disciplinary action filed against her, with reports dating back to 2005.

In 2012, the Texas Board of Dental Examiners ordered Jefferson to pay a fine and complete 24 additional hours of Continuing Education after discovering she failed to meet the minimum standard of care in the sedation of another juvenile patient.

State records show at least 85 Texans have died as a result of dental anesthesia disasters since 2010, and countless more have been left damaged for life.