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He Walked Away From Dentistry…Angry

January 15th, 2018 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

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In all the political bantering and conflict we are witnessing at this time in our Country’s history, I thought I might share a letter that came into my possession that honestly astounded me. It is from a friend of a friend’s colleague and buddy who apparently walked away from a job because of what he kept seeing as: “a whole lot of dishonesty and deceit.” Apparently, this individual had sold his Dental practice and was spending his last few years working for a low income dental clinic; initially this was a job he revered as he felt he could spend some time helping those less fortunate than himself. He starts by writing this…

I’m so disgusted with what’s happening in this country, I could scream. I will not tell you who I am but suffice it to say this country is in the toilet. I was born in the 50’s, raised in the 60’s, survived the 70’s and educated in the 80’s. 2016 looks exceptionally bad as I watch how this once great country has changed and not for the better.

He goes on to make a list of things he’s heard and seen while working in this clinic and I can’t help but wonder how many people know this is happening…

…People on state paid dental programs, driving a Porsche, new Cadillac, BMW’s…BRAND NEW CARS OF EVERY TYPE ENTERING OUR FACILITY! And, a Hummer!

…With very few exceptions, women come in with their fingernails and toenails done, their hair professionally colored and they come in late because they wanted to sleep. I’ve heard some of the assistants say they “want to go on state aid so they can get their nails done regularly.”

…One young lady came in to get dental treatment and the girls noticed her cute jeans. They asked her where she got them. No surprise…they were $185 designer jeans…once again, she was receiving FREE TREATMENT ON STATE AID.

…I’ve heard of vacations, the likes of which I’ve never taken: “we’re spending the winter in the Cayman Islands”, yup…getting free dental treatment. How about going to the east coast for the summer? I think that would be real nice, but I’ve never done it…I WORK!
This was four of the sixteen points he made in his letter and as anyone can see, he was outraged. In reading this letter, I got a memory of my earliest days in private practice. I had seen a patient for several days in a row, working to repair his badly decayed teeth. He was on the state aid program and the last day I saw him he was wearing some very nice leather pants and a matching leather vest.

When we were done, I proudly announced that his treatment was complete; he stood up, stretched and told me that he was going to celebrate by having a “big steak” that night. I recall my heart sank as I’d worked so hard, and as a young “right out of school” dentist, hadn’t had a steak in years.

This now retired dentist went on to say more…

Many of these patients display an outrageous list of inappropriate behavior and comments:

  1. They fail confirmed appointments over and over. Then when they have a tooth emergency, they whine and complain about having to do a sit and wait.
  2. They get incredibly rude and annoyed about having to fill out the required paperwork.
  3. They come in stoned and having consumed alcohol and get volatile when we refuse treatment.
  4. They display an incredible sense of entitlement (and our government has the audacity to call our Social Security an entitlement?)
  5. They complain that their medical/dental program doesn’t pay for enough.
  6. One patient was told he needed three crowns but was informed that his benefit program didn’t pay for laboratory constructed crowns. His comment was rude and revealing; he said: “I don’t think you should assume I can’t afford three crowns just because I’m on state aid”. If he can afford three crowns, he can afford everything else on his treatment plan.

He went on to say…

…I’ve worked my entire life and that means 50+ years of contributing to our society and the forward movement of this country; why does this country give everything away? I was raised by a single mom with two brothers and a sister. She didn’t go on state aid, she worked! We drank powdered milk and ate lots of chicken and we were raised to have outstanding work ethic…

I hear his pain and hope his days are now filled with peace and serenity. I would follow that with the certainty that there are citizens of this country that are in desperate need of our state aid medical/dental programs. I am also certain he met many of these patients and found them to be grateful and polite. Unfortunately, there will always be those who abuse the system and we can only hope they are caught. In some states, if caught cheating, the patient is made to pay the funds back! I don’t know about you, but I find that concept heart-warming. 🙂

“He who chooses to be a master never does just enough to get by; nor does he cut corners or attempt to cheat the system. He who choses mastery lives his life asking, ‘How can I do more, give more, be more and thereby accelerate the achievement of my ultimate destiny?’”

– James Arthur Ray

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