A 4-year-old girl from Houston named Nevaeh Hall suffered from brain damage after an unfortunate dental appointment that involved a controversial restraint device.
The family is now considering to file a lawsuit against the dentist after the child was rushed to the Texas Children's Hospital, where tests revealed that the patient sustained brain damage.
"In essence what happened is this child was chemically and physically suffocated," says the family attorney Jim Moriarty.
The said appointment was already Nevaeh's third visit to the Diamond Dental clinic. Her mother Courissa Clark said she expected to have some of her daughter's teeth be capped or removed due to decay.
Throughout the appointment, she and her husband stayed in the waiting room. They were told that everything was OK. The next time they were permitted to enter the procedure room was when the paramedics were already arriving.
The Controversial Dental Restraint Device Called Papoose
Nevaeh was said to have been placed in a dental restraint device called papoose. This device constrains the arms and legs of a patient so that it would not disrupt the procedures.
While some dentists show support to the use of papoose in specific, cautiously monitored cases, Nevaeh's family speaks out and warns the public against this dental restraint device.
In a news conference held on Thursday, Nevaeh's family was accompanied by a dentist from Children First Dental named Craig Jacobs, who said that if parents are being asked to authorize the use of papoose on their child, they likely have to run.
Nevaeh's attorneys said that the child experienced seizures due to the use of numerous sedatives during the appointment.
In the child's medical record, it was shown that Nevaeh was sedated for more than seven hours. She was also given five sedatives for what is considered to be a routine dental procedure.
Moriarty says Nevaeh's records show that she was essentially tortured. Her heart beat reach a whopping 196 beats per minute, which is a compensatory mechanism for her difficulty of breathing. Her oxygen saturation also reached an alarming low of 49 percent. For comparison, oxygen saturation of lower than 86 percent is already categorized as severe loss of oxygen in the cells, which is known to lead to brain damage.
The dentist behind this tragic case is Dr. Bethaniel Jefferson, who has been reprimanded and fined by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners twice before already.
At present, her license has been temporarily suspended following Nevaeh's case.