Posted by Jeanne Sager on September 13, 2012 at 9:57 AM
There's such a huge pile of forms to fill out when our kids go back to school that you kind of lose track: am I signing up to be a school trip chaperone here or am I signing my life away? You might be tempted to rush right through them all. But the story of a little boy was given two unnecessary root canals by a dentist in his school's art room -- without his parents being consulted -- should be enough to kill that temptation.
Stacey Gagnon did agree to let her son Isaac get a basic examination from a dentist at school. Who can blame her? It seems like smart parenting to me. Which is why what happened to this little guy is so scary.
Stacey and husband Darren say Isaac didn't "just" get a basic examination. They say a dentist who they'd never met took their 4-year-old into the school art room and performed not one but two root canals and put in two steel crowns. The Gagnons say no anesthesia was used to numb the little man's pain. Instead they allege that three adults held him down as he kicked, screamed, and gagged. Not surprisingly they say their son now has night terrors and a desperate fear of "the dentist man."
That right there makes me furious. There is no excuse for terrifying and torturing a child. Even if this were something the parents had said "OK" to, even if this were in a professional dentist's office, that's out of line. Kids deserve to be treated with the same care as adults.
But hold your fury. It's about to get worse: the Gagnons say they never received a call asking for the go-ahead to do these procedures, and a pediatric dentist hired by the Gagnons says he doesn't see why these procedures were performed in the first place.
So a child was tortured (because, yes, that's what a root canal without anesthesia is) for nothing? NOTHING? AND his parents weren't told?
I can't say for sure, but it sounds like some greedy dentist was hoping to make more money off of the school district. And picking a 4-year-old makes sense: they are so young they don't know to say no or ask someone to call their Mom.
But as the Gagnons wage a lawsuit against the dentist for malpractice, I keep going back to what Stacey agreed to for Isaac. It sounds like she was doing what we all do: saying, hey, sure, free medical care for the kid!
I know I sign my daughter up for a free in-school cleaning every year because it's added protection for her little mouth. Because we live in such a poor district, we can even get free fluoride treatments for our kids.
But the more I think about it, the more I realize the forms we get for these kinds of things from our school districts are pretty vague. Do we really know what we're getting our kids into when they're away from us for long hours and we can't step in to care for them?
I hope the Gagnons have a good lawyer who can sort this out and get some justice for little Isaac, but it's a good lesson to the rest of us to double and triple check those forms.
Do you allow your child's school to perform dental work on your kids? Does this story impact your decisions?