A former Houston dentist has been found guilty of recklessly causing serious bodily injury to a child. It was shown that she gave her four-year-old patient a sedative and did not notify the emergency services for several hours, while the girl suffered further epileptic attacks.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Nevaeh Hall suffered an epileptic seizure during a dental procedure in 2016. Dentist Bethaniel Jefferson did not call emergency services at the time and instead gave the four-year-old girl an insomnia pill that experts say should not be given to children, after which two more seizures occurred and the patient’s blood oxygen levels dropped. Nevaeh suffered permanent brain damage.
The dentist did not call 911 until several hours after the first attack, having previously contacted the pastor and pharmacist. Her behavior was criticized, among others, by the four-year-old’s doctor, and in 2016 the woman lost her right to practice her profession.
Verdict in the dentist’s case – guilty
On Wednesday, a jury in Houston found Jefferson guilty of recklessly causing serious bodily injury to a child. After the verdict, the former dentist’s lawyers asked the judge to “immediately decide on the sentence,” but prosecutors opposed,” the Houston Chronicle reported. To impose Jefferson’s punishment, the jury will reconvene on Thursday.
The jury’s decision was preceded by a week of testimony from, among others, by the Nevaeh family and medical experts. During the trial, prosecutors emphasized that the dentist should have sought help for her patient earlier. “The girl was traumatized by what the defendant failed to do,” said Assistant District Attorney Shanice Newton. In turn, Jefferson’s defense attorney, Angela Weltin, said her client should be acquitted because “a lot of damage was done to her,” including prohibiting the practice of dentistry.
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