Ex-Dentist Sentenced After Botched Procedure Leaves Child with Brain Damage

(LibertySociety.com) – Bethaniel Jefferson, a former Texas dentist received probation after leaving a 4-year-old girl with brain damage during a routine dental procedure eight years ago. Naveah Hall, who is now 11 years old, will need to be cared for around the clock for the rest of her life after suffering from oxygen deprivation for close to five hours in 2016. Jefferson sedated the girl before the procedure, but she began to experience seizures. She gave her more sedatives, which did nothing to stop the seizures, but caused Hall to vomit. Jefferson waited several hours before calling an ambulance to transport the girl to the hospital. Instead, she made multiple phone calls to her pastor and a pharmacy to seek consultation regarding potential drug interactions. 

A doctor in the Emergency Room at Texas Children’s Hospital reported Jefferson to the state dental board, and her license was eventually revoked. The hospital was able to stabilize the girl, but the state board’s decision noted the ER physician’s report that Hall was in a “stuporous state.” Hall is permanently wheelchair-bound and is unable to see, eat food, or talk because of hours of oxygen deprivation. Hall’s grandmother, Clara Clark, said, “The right thing to do was to call 911.” She added that she would have believed it was accidental, but when Jefferson “refused to seek help it became a crime.” 

A civil lawsuit resulted in Jefferson being ordered to pay $95.5 million to Hall’s family, but Jefferson did not have enough malpractice insurance to cover the full amount. Derrick Hall, the girl’s father, told Fox26 that he felt Jefferson’s probation sentence was unjust and that he believes her life should have to drastically change too. Prosecutors were seeking a 20-year prison sentence for Jefferson, but the jury came back with a recommendation of 10 years in prison or community supervision. The judge ultimately decided to give Jefferson just 5 years of probation. Jefferson’s attorney reportedly begged the judge not to sentence his client to prison, claiming that the only threat she posed to the public was if she had remained a dentist. 

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