Pediatric Dentist’s Mental Competence Under Investigation as He Awaits Trial For Fraud and Child Abuse

A pediatric dentist in Jacksonville, FL, is facing 11 counts of Medicaid fraud. Yet the defense for Dr. Howard S. Schneider, 78, claims that their client is not mentally competent to stand trial.

The state claims that the dentist billed Medicaid hundreds of thousands of dollars for procedures that were never performed. Parents of patients also claim that Schneider was abusing their children.

Parents reported that their children were injured during appointments and were receiving procedures the parents didn’t even know about.

One patient was found face down on the floor, hyperventilating and covered in scratches and blood when the parent walked in. The child told investigators, “That 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 and choked me.”

The parent told police, “I saw that my baby was missing all (his/her) teeth.”

John Phillips, a lawyer representing several of the dentist’s past patients, said that he is watching Schneider’s criminal case, hoping to find out if the dentist is proven to have mental health issues and if he had them while practicing as a pediatric dentist. He said, “The civil case and criminal case are different. The criminal case would be put on hold (if he’s determined mentally incompetent), and if it’s Alzheimer’s, it may be put on hold indefinitely. In the civil case, he may not be able to testify, but it almost enforces the claim in our mind of some degree of incompetence. It depends on when we can prove that happened.”

Schneider performed many routine dental procedures over the years on children of all ages. As many as 78% of people have at least one cavity by the age of 17, so it is likely that more young victims have suffered at the hands of this dentist than have already come forward.

The prosecution and the defense have agreed to call in a third medical expert to establish if Schneider is medically competent to stand trial. Whether or not the trial will commence on June 13 as planned is yet to be determined.

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