Mobile dental clinic travels to Brady to deliver much needed care
Methodist Healthcare Ministries Wesley Nurses recently participated in Texas Mission of Mercy - a mobile dental clinic that travels around the state providing basic dental care (including cleanings, fillings, or extractions), free of charge, to uninsured Texans. They provide services without any pre-qualifications; therefore, patients do not have to prove their poverty or residency. The event was held at Brady High School in Brady, Texas, and brought much-needed oral health care to the area. Volunteer dentists (assisted by volunteer dental students, hygienists, and dental assistants) examined and treated 238 patients in attendance.
Three Wesley Nurses - Theresa Whitley (Mertzon), Theresa Standage (Kerrville) and Charlotte Johnson (Brady) - served alongside the more than 200 volunteers by registering clients and assisting them with their health assessments.
"I am so proud to have been part of this service, especially after listening to patients express how happy they were to be able to smile and show their teeth and to have rotted teeth removed," said Johnson. "One man told me his mouth had never felt so clean."
Patients were lined up at the door at 5:30 a.m. Some slept in front of the school because they didn't want to miss the opportunity to be seen. Some drove all night to get to the event because this was their only opportunity to get dental care. Most patients were local, but some came from as far as Austin, Houston, Beaumont, and Fredericksburg. Texas Mission of Mercy provided help to people with dental problems, such as cavities, broken teeth, swollen gums, tooth infections, and cleanings, that hadn't been addressed for years.
"Many of the volunteers had been up since 2:00 a.m. getting ready for the event, but no complaints were heard and everyone seemed happy to be there," stated Standage. "I was amazed at the community involvement in Brady, and to see the volunteers interacting and assisting patients with a kind, caring heart. So many came together for the greater good of those in need," said Johnson.
Whitley shared that this was a fulfilling experience. "I had the opportunity to talk with many individuals from different parts of Texas and from various backgrounds - a retired DPS officer, a retired veteran, a pregnant woman, and a waitress, just to name a few," said Whitley. "However, there was one elderly gentleman that I had a conversation with that just really touched my heart. He thanked me for volunteering my time and said that we were 'angels' there to help all the people that came. I told the gentleman that I was the one who was blessed, more than he would ever know."
Wesley Nurse Theresa Standage is working with her community for Texas Mission of Mercy's Kerrville event on March 25, 2017. To volunteer, please email email@example.com.
Contributing authors: Ann Scarth, Charlotte Johnson, Teresa Whitley and Theresa Standage.