Former Texas dentist gets probation for dental surgery that left child with brain damage

A former Texas dentist who was convicted for a dental procedure that left a child with brain damage received a five-year probation sentence, The Houston Chronicle reported Sept. 14. 

Former dentist Bethaniel Jefferson was convicted Sept. 13 of causing serious bodily injury to a child by omission after treating Nevaeh Hall in January 2016. During a dental procedure to treat a broken tooth, Nevaeh, who was 4 years old at the time of the procedure, began suffering from a seizure. Her oxygen levels dropped and more seizures followed, but it reportedly took Ms. Jefferson several hours to call for medical assistance. 

Ms. Jefferson faced up to 20 years in prison.

The Texas Board of Dental Examiners revoked Ms. Jefferson's dental license in November 2016. A jury also awarded Nevaeh's family $95.5 million in September 2022, but The Houston Chronicle reported Sept. 13 that most of the funds could not be paid because Ms. Jefferson’s malpractice insurance did not cover the full amount. 

John Kovach, a member of Ms. Jefferson's legal team, told The Houston Chronicle he hopes the case will lead to more oversight of sedation during pediatric dental procedures. 

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