Houston-area dentist receives five years probation for procedure that left 4-year-old brain damaged

The family of the girl left with severe brain damage from the botched procedure said they were unsatisfied with the ruling Thursday.


Craig Hartley Craig Hartley/Freelance

A Houston-area dentist received five years of probation Thursday evening after her failed 2016 dental procedure resulted in the brain damage of then 4-year-old Neveah Hall.

The trial for Bethaniel Jefferson began earlier this week, and a jury convicted Jefferson Wednesday. Thursday, she was found guilty of recklessly causing serious bodily injury to a child by omission, and given five years probation.

Hall suffered significant oxygen loss and a seizure after visiting the dentist for a standard tooth repair during the botched procedure seven years ago. Jefferson failed to call 911 for hours, and by the time an ambulance arrived at the practice, Hall had reduced temperatures and had already lost a crucial amount of oxygen.

Hall is now 11, and her family said the 2016 procedure has since resulted in her inability to speak, walk or eat on her own.

"It’s very disappointing because she gets to walk free, live her life going about her business," her grandmother, Clara Clark, told press after the sentencing Thursday evening. "But we have Neveah here that, you know, we didn’t get to see her start school. You know, we don’t get to see her walk around and play."

"So, no, I think the decision was very unfair and justice was not served," she said.

Jefferson's license was revoked in 2016 following the incident, and a jury determined she caused over $95 million in harm to the family last year. The family’s attorney, however, said they would not be able to receive that money, because Jefferson's malpractice insurance only covered a small portion of that amount, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“We are very disappointed about the verdict,” Clark said Thursday.