Texas Parents Allege Dentist to Blame for Child’s Brain Damage

Sarah May | April 6th, 2016

medical malpracticeA Houston area family is in the process of readying a malpractice lawsuit against a dental practitioner they claim caused their 4-year-old daughter to suffer extensive brain damage during a January in-office procedure. The parents of the girl claim that as a result of excessive sedation and the use of a controversial device designed to restrain pediatric patients, their child sustained life-altering harm and has been rendered unable to walk or speak.

Sadly, this is not the first time the dentist in question has encountered allegations of impropriety in her treatment of patients, having been previously reprimanded by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners no less than twice.

Details of allegations

Courissa Clark is alleging that her daughter Nevaeh was an existing patient of the Diamond Dental practice in Houston, and she had taken the girl for an appointment at which she anticipated the capping and removal of multiple teeth due to known decay. When the procedure was set to begin, Clark states that she and her husband were instructed to remain in the waiting room.

Back in the treatment suite, Nevaeh was allegedly given a series of sedative drugs and was under their influence for approximately seven hours, despite the fact that the procedure itself should have been completed by lunchtime at the latest.

It is further alleged that Nevaeh was placed in a restraint known as a papoose which serves to confine young patients’ arms and legs to prevent interference with the procedure itself. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, Nevaeh began suffering extreme oxygen deprivation and seizures, with her blood pressure and pulse reaching dangerously elevated readings. An independent review suggests that her body attempted to compensate for her difficulty breathing by boosting her heart rate to levels approaching 195 beats per minute.

At one point, her blood pressure hit 168/77, with oxygen saturation dipping to 49 percent. Clinically dangerous hypoxia is classified as any blood saturation below 86 percent.

Parents denied access during procedure

According to Nevaeh’s parents and attorney, the treating dentist and support staff never indicated that seizures were occurring, and they made repeated assurances that everything was fine. It is alleged that the patient’s parents were prevented from entering the treatment suite until paramedics were finally summoned, approximately four hours after signs of trouble emerged. The lawyer for Nevaeh’s family suggests that what happened to the little girl essentially amounts to torture and urges parents never to allow their children to be placed in papoose-style restraints unless they are physically present in the room.

Advocacy for victims of dental malpractice

Nobody ever expects a routine dental procedure to turn into a tragedy, but when treating professionals fail to meet the acceptable standard of care, catastrophic outcomes can occur. Improper administration of sedatives or other pain medication, failure to take comprehensive patient medical histories, ill-advised restraint of patients and lack of appropriate patient monitoring during and after procedures all represent types of negligence which can lead to actionable claims of malpractice. Because the consequences of errors on the part of dental professionals can be so profound, it is important that victims align themselves with an advocate able to pursue every dollar of compensation available, including payment for lost wages, medical care, therapy and rehabilitation and more.

If you or a loved one have suffered serious harm as the result of suspected malpractice in New York, the team of attorneys at The Sanders Firm can help. We stand ready to provide you with a comprehensive assessment of the facts of your case and offer the insights necessary to make informed decisions about your legal options. To schedule your no-cost, confidential consultation, call 1.800 FAIR PLAY.


  1. CBS News, 4-year-old girl syffers brain damage after dentist visit, family says, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/4-year-old-girl-suffers-brain-damage-after-dentist-visit/

  2. New York Daily News, Houston 4-year-old suffers severe brain damage after being sedated at dentist, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/4-year-old-suffers-severe-brain-damage-dentist-visit-article-1.2560736