Malpractice trial awards $95.5 million to child’s family

28 September 2022

In 2016, four-year-old Nevaeh Hall’s family took her to a local Houston dentist to have a few teeth extracted due to decay.

The procedure should have been fairly routine. But, Nevaeh ended up leaving the practice in the back of an ambulance.

According to ABC13 Houston, “Nevaeh was improperly restrained and sedated during treatment for decayed teeth.” This resulted in the child receiving “severe brain damage” due to oxygen deprivation.

Now 10 years old, Nevaeh needs constant medical care. She can no longer see, speak, walk or eat on her own which has forced Nevaeh to rely entirely on her parents.

Following the incident, Nevaeh’s dentist, Bethaniel Jefferson, was suspended by the Texas Board of Dental Examiners. According to ABC13 Houston, the board said Bethaniel “did not call for help immediately after Nevaeh started having seizures and attempted to her treat with medication, instead of calling 911.”

Bethaniel was formally indicted in 2017 on charges stating he had “intentionally” and “knowingly” caused serious injury to a minor by “failing to seek and provide adequate medical attention”.

The case recently went to trial and the jury found that the dentist was negligent. Neveah’s family were awarded $95.5 million but the family’s lawyers caution that they may never collect the entire sum as the dentist’s malpractice insurance is insufficient.

Speaking to ABC13 Houston, one of the family's attorneys, Jim Moriarty said, “The problem is the dentist has long since paid the pittance that she could pay. Now, we're sitting here and we're screwed."