Victims seek justice from Florida dentist who ran a "house of horrors"
Warning: This story contains images that some readers may find disturbing.
Most of us have had the occasional unpleasant experience in the dentist's chair. But patients of pediatric dentist Dr. Howard Schneider of Jacksonville, Florida underwent treatment that can only be described as something out of a horror movie.
Parents started hearing troubling reports from their children after visiting Dr. Schneider, but when they tried to find out more, the frightened children often remained silent. The dentist had warned them not to say anything. Finally, one brave little girl broke her silence.
Six-year-old Bri'el Motley told her mom what was really going on behind the practice's closed doors. Mother Brandi had taken her daughter in to have a tooth pulled at the dentist's urging. For hours, Brandi was not allowed in the room where her daughter was undergoing the extraction. When her daughter finally emerged, she looked as though she had been through something traumatic. As it turned out, she had.
Bri'el was covered with scrapes and bruises. A nurse claimed there had been an "accident." When Brandi looked in her daughter's mouth, she was astonished to see that not one, but seven of her teeth were missing. She couldn't believe it.
Enraged, she decided to blow the whistle on the dental practice and wrote a post about her experience on Facebook. She asked her friends to spread the word. She and other parents began picketing the practice to warn unsuspecting parents.
Following Brandi's action, stories from other patients of Dr. Schneider began to surface and the true horror of the case started to become apparent. One incredibly disturbing piece of evidence came about when Sherraine Christopher was allowed to sit in the treatment room while her three-year-old son Zion was in the chair. When he started screaming, she took out her cell phone and started filming. The footage shows her son strapped down while the dentist prepares his teeth for a crown. It turned out later, the dentist had done all of this without any anesthesia. The doctor ground down 16 of the boy's 20 teeth to be fitted with crowns. His screams in the video are bloodcurdling.
As was the case in the video, some of Dr. Schneider's patients were restrained in a so-called "papoose board" during treatment. The board has straps that holds the children in place from the neck down.
More and more cases were reported. After viewing the video, attorney John Phillips brought class-action litigation against Dr. Schneider. Of the 131 cases he is handling, 104 have been settled to date, but without Dr. Schneider having admitted wrongdoing. One of the accusations against the dentist is that the work he performed was not even necessary. His practice worked primarily with patients who received Medicaid and Dr. Schneider has been brought up on criminal charges of fraud because he would allegedly submit claims for this unnecessary work in order to collect the Medicaid payment. These claims totalled over $3.9 million just between 2010 and 2014.
Dr. Schneider has voluntarily given up his dental practice. A hearing on the criminal case against him was due to take place last month because his defense team has filed a motion claiming that he is unfit for trial. The outcome of the hearing has not yet been made public. Meanwhile, his victims and their families are trying to recover from their experiences.
Here is a report about the case. WARNING: This video contains extremely disturbing material.
Thankfully, this man has finished practicing dentistry and hopefully he will soon be brought to justice. No one should have to live through such torture, especially innocent children!