Peninsula Hospital Center Dentist’s Mission Of Mercy
A trio of dentists including Leonard E. Schiffman, DMD, Director of the Department of Dentistry and Oral- Maxillofacial Surgery at Peninsula Hospital Center, just returned from a mission of mercy to the Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos orphanage in a rural community of the Dominican Republic. The dental team, which also included a general dentist, a pedodontist and five senior students from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, had to bring their own supplies and instruments in order to provide emergency, restorative and preventative care for the children who ranged in age from 3- to 18-years-of-age. Care was also provided to the orphanage staff and their families.
The medical histories showed that many were infected with hepatitis and HIV while others had contracted malaria or typhoid. Some of the special needs children had been diagnosed with autism or cerebral palsy. “Sometimes we think we’re having a difficult day here in the States,” said Dr. Schiffman, “but it doesn’t compare to working in an open courtyard in 95 degree temperatures without air conditioning or even fans.” Dr. Schiffman and his team were amazed at the overall attitudes of the patients. “Not a single patient complained about the conditions or the waiting time during our visit. Even the language barrier did not stop our patients from attempting to show their gratitude. It was a very moving and rewarding experience that we will not ever forget.”
The team provided hundreds of individual treatments and left the population much better off than when they found them. “Seeing poverty and deprivation on this level was truly an eyeopener to our entire team and certainly reminded us to appreciate the privileges we Americans all too often take for granted,” commented Dr. Schiffman.