The dentistâ€™s trial is being held up by questions concerning his competency.
In a fraud trial that has revealed chilling allegations of child abuse, the competency of a Florida pediatric dentist remains under scrutiny and trial proceedings have ground to a halt.
News4Jax.com reports that Howard Schneider, DDS, who has already settled more than 100 abuse cases against him, is accused of charging the state for procedures he didn’t carry out in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to News4Jax, the defense and prosecution brought in medical experts to offer opinions on Schneider’s competency. Now, the trial is awaiting the opinion of a third psychologist, appointed by the judge presiding over the case. That opinion is being held up by a pending MRI and possible bloodwork, the news outlet reported on Monday. So far, the opinions of medical experts working for the defense and prosecution have not been released. The trial was supposed to begin on June 13. Another hearing is scheduled for Nov. 22, but no trial date has been set.
The investigation into the fraud charges revealed abuse allegations against Dr. Schneider similar to those that have already been settled, News4Jax reports. One heavily redacted patient account, available here, paints a dark picture.
According to the deposition, a parent brought their child to Dr. Schneider’s office for a procedure that was expected to take about 30 minutes. When the procedure ran into a third hour, the parent became worried and was eventually informed by a practice employee that there had been “an incident.”
The parent then went to their child only to find that the child “was hyperventilating, had marks, scratches and blood all over.” The staff member told the parent that the dentist and the staff member had stepped out and when they returned, found the child “face first on the floor.” The child later told the parent, “they’re lying to you,” and “the man doctor threw me and that lady picked me up when I was on the board and she was laughing at me, and sat on me when he choked me and pulled my teeth.” At this point, the parent realized the child was missing all of their teeth.
Another patient deposition, available here, appears to describe a child that was so heavily sedated, she immediately passed out when release to a parent and had great difficulty waking up. The child had been heard screaming earlier during the procedure. A parent said that the child’s “arms were bruised and hands were swollen from being restrained at Dr. Schneider’s office,” though they did not take photographs of the alleged injuries.