Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bethaniel Jefferson indicted on a felony charge of causing serious bodily injury to a child by omission

Dentist Craig Jacobs, Nevaeh Hall's mother Courissa and family members look on as attorney Jim Moriarty shows a  graph depicting  the EKG and oxygen levels during the 4-year-old's dental appointment. Photo: Craig Hartley Craig Hartley, Freelance / Copyright: Craig H. Hartley

Photo: Craig Hartley Craig Hartley, Freelance

Excerpts from Houston Chronicle Story:

A former Houston dentist was formally charged Monday (July 24, 2017) with failing to properly treat a sedated 4-year-old patient who was left with permanent brain damage in what should have been a routine procedure.

The child's mother, Courissa Clark, said she was "overjoyed" when she heard the news.

"We're really grateful that justice has been served and the person that did this to our baby is finally being brought to justice," Hall told the Chronicle.

"When little Nevaeh was taken to the dentist that day, (her parents) turned her over to the dentist trusting that the dentist would protect and look after their little girl," said attorney James Moriarty. "But she overdosed her on sedatives."

The girl was sedated at the Diamond Dental office about 8:30 a.m. Jan. 7, 2016, prosecutors said in a statement. Three hours later she suffered a seizure, and her oxygen level and temperature fell dramatically. Prosecutors say it took more than four hours before anyone called for medical assistance.

Jefferson was reprimanded by the Texas Board of Dental Examiners in 2005 and 2012, prosecutors said. The board revoked her license in November after a state administrative judge ruled that she "fell below the minimum standard of care, failed to uphold the duty of fair dealing and committed dishonorable conduct when providing dental care."

The Chronicle's investigation cast a spotlight on Medicaid dental clinics that had flourished through treatment of pediatric patients whose low-income families qualified for government assistance.

Medicaid dental claims in Texas quintupled between 2005 and 2015 to $1 billion a year after the state doubled reimbursement rates in 2007.

Jefferson now faces trial on a first-degree felony charge.

"This indictment should send a message to the medical community that they will be held accountable for abandoning their patients in times of crisis," prosecutor Stan Clark of the Texas attorney general's Medicare fraud unit said in the statement.

"While accidents in the health care industry occur more than everyone would prefer, practitioners must react appropriately and contact higher level medical care providers when they realize their patient is distressed beyond their capabilities," he said.

Read the Entire Article Here