Local doctors donate time and talent to Mission of Mercy

The 2013 Kansas Mission of Mercy, was a two-day clinic held at the Kansas Coliseum at Park City.

Approximately 1100 volunteers, that included 150 dentists, played a part in this year’s event.

Two of those dentists returning this year were Melodee and Mark Armfield of Augusta.

Dr. Mark Armfield answered the following questions about MOM.

Q. What is a MOM event like?

A. It is a very rewarding experience. Patients start showing up the night before it starts. This years the doors were opened at 10pm letting people inside. Star Lumber donated 4 rolls of carpet for the patients to sleep on. At 4am triage starts where patients fill out a brief health history (some instructions of what to bring and expect are on the KMOM web site) they are screened for blood pressure and blood sugar issues, a dentist looks in their mouth with a flashlight looking for abscessed teeth and visible cavities. The patient is asked what procedure they would like done. The choices are one of three (a cleaning, fillings, or extractions) for the day and they can come back the next day for something else.

Q. What is the cost?

A. For patients it is free. The volunteers pay their own travel expenses, lodging, and any supplies they wish to bring and use.

Q. Who pays for everything?

A. There is a charitable organization formed that is the financial arm. Many businesses, groups, individuals and other charitable organizations donate so others may be helped. There were many companies who donated portapotties, trash dumpsters, air compressors, electricians, plumbers setting up the clinic. Jimmy Johns and Wendy donated food, Walmart and Sams gave discounts on food purchased to feed lunches to patients and volunteers. The Best Western where many stayed started their breakfast at 5am so the volunteers could start patient treatment at 6am. Churches donated and prepared meals, there are usually around 1000 volunteers if you count every single person who does something in preparation, operation and tear down of the 2 day clinic. Without many people doing many jobs not as many people would be helped.

Q. What services are provided?

A. A cleaning, fillings, extractions are generally it but this year 3 dentists brought their own root canal supplies and did root canal on front teeth if the others looked good and there was enough tooth for a future crown ( which would be at the patients own expense everything at KMOM is one day procedures generally)

Q. Who is eligible to be treated?

A. Anyone who is willing to wait, there are no income limits, proof of need. Anyone who is healthy enough to be there that day and does not have blood pressure so high they may have a stroke, or blood sugar so high they may have other health issues is eligible.

Q. What if the patient needs pain medication or antibiotics?

A. On site this year and in the past there are 2 volunteer pharmacists who dispense antibiotics and non-narcotic pain medications as prescribed by the dentist.

Q. Do the dentists (and assistants) get paid?

A. Yes, nearly all volunteers who have given some of their time and talents to help others come back year after year. They are paid with smiles, gratitude and hugs. Sometimes the patient even wants a photograph of us with them and their new smile.

Q. How many years have you participated?

A. I have 4 times, Dr, Melodee have 5 times.

Q. Has your role changed?

A. Generally we do fillings and some extractions on teeth triage thought was savable, this year Dr. Melodee and I also supervised the adult filling section. Which really means if there was a hiccup in treatment or coordination of different departments we got to leave our patient and solve that problem then finish what we were doing.

Q. What is the best part about the experience for you?

A. Helping others.