Nevaeh Hall was laughing and running around a Chuck E. Cheese only two months ago. Now the 4-year-old is brain-damaged for life—able to open her eyes but not stand up or talk—after a simple dental visit to secure decaying teeth, the Houston Chronicle reports. "She's constantly moving her arms and having muscle spasms," says her mother, Courissa Clark. "She's agitated a lot. She cries most days." Nevaeh's family is suing the dentist, Bethaniel Jefferson, who apparently used several sedatives and a restraining device called a papoose on the Jan. 7 dental visit in Houston, KHOU reports. The device firmly straps in the head and limbs, making a child stable but helpless. "They made it seem like it was for her safety so she wouldn't fall off the table or put her hands in her mouth," says 23-year-old Clark.
Hearing Nevaeh cry two hours later, Clark went in and found her flailing wildly in Jefferson's arms. Yet Jefferson didn't seek emergency medical help for four hours, according to a Texas dental board that swiftly suspended her license and plans to revoke it pending a judge's recommendation, Click2Houston reports. Jefferson—who's been reprimanded twice before over medical miscues—also gave Nevaeh too many drugs for her 30-pound body, says family lawyer Jim Moriarty. "This child was essentially tortured," he adds. (Jefferson hasn't returned calls for comment.) Now dentist Craig Jacobs is warning other parents about the papoose. "If parents are being told to authorize or grant permission to papoose their child, they probably ought to run," says Jacobs. "You cannot allow your child to be held in a restraint device without you personally being present." (Another girl was declared brain-dead after a simple surgery went wrong.)