Having a child is many things: wondrous and scary and exhilarating and upsetting and a thousand other feelings. Children are a part of you, but a part of you that you can’t fully control and worry about constantly. For many, the safety fears of the early years go unrealized. For a very few, those worst fears are realized, and the rest of us cannot comprehend the devastation that parents experience when their child is grievously injured.
A routine visit
Courissa Clark is the mother of four-year-old Navaeh Hall. Naveah, like most children her age, had a few cavities that were causing her pain. Clark scheduled an appointment with Dr. Bethaniel Jefferson in early January to have the teeth treated. Naveah’s problem was not unusual for children her age; “At least 4 million preschoolers suffer from tooth decay – an increase of more than 600,000 kids in the last decade… And the popularity of bottled water – which usually doesn’t contain fluoride – may also contribute to the growing problem.”
Because most young children don’t sit still particularly well, especially for invasive dental work, Dr. Jefferson decided that sedation was the best option for treatment. Unfortunately, the 4-year-old began experiencing seizures while under sedation. Instead of contacting emergency personnel, Dr. Jefferson attempted to treat the seizures “by administering oral medication (Halcion)” according to the Texas Board of Dental Examiners.
Negligence has devastating consequences
This decision left Naveah severely brain damaged. The once normal 4-year-old is no longer able to walk or talk, and has significant vision problems. Worse, ABC News reported, “Previous disciplinary action records… show that Jefferson was reprimanded in 2012 for falling ‘below the minimum standard of care in the sedation of a minor’ and in 2005 for not meeting the ‘minimum standard of care’ and for not keeping ‘adequate dental records’ for a patient.”
The family intends to file a lawsuit against Jefferson and her practice for the negligent care their daughter received. Since January, Courissa has been through a parent’s worst nightmare. Her young daughter has been through four different hospitals and is currently at an in-patient rehabilitation facility. Naveah requires a feeding tube for nutrition and undergoes hours of therapy every day.
Through it all, Courissa has remained positive. She told ABC News, “Right now, it’s a waiting game to see what she can relearn and what she’ll be able to do. I’m hoping to get my daughter back the way she was. I believe through my faith there’s nothing God can’t do. This is our baby, so we just have to accept and live with what we have.”
The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm are with Courissa and Naveah. The family has our best wishes for a full recovery, and we can’t help but admire Courissa’s faith and determination through an incredibly difficult time.
No one should have to watch his or her child suffer, especially at the hands of a trusted healthcare provider. Unfortunately, medical negligence affects families every day. When it happens to you, the compassionate and experienced Tennessee child injury attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law can help you through a difficult and emotional time. Visit us in Nashville, Gallatin, or Knoxville or contact us today for a free consultation.