One day last week, a neighbor asked our Chicago neighborhood Facebook group for a little dough to replace the battery in the snowblower he uses to clear our sidewalks. It was a slightly odd request—we don’t ask him to snowblow—but it did not deserved the machine-gunning it received, about the man’s presumptuousness and wanton greed. On the same day, I had a more mollifying exchange with the neighborhood dentist:
Hi, Dr. T—————,
David Murray here, one of your happiest patients, over the last almost 20 years—writing to report an unhappy experience for my daughter S——, with her recent wisdom tooth surgery.
She suffered with pain for most of a month since her surgery there. Dry socket might have been a contributor, but when she went down there repeatedly [for examinations], she felt taken less than seriously—especially on her last visit, when she said she thought there might be some stitching thread still in her gum on the lower left side.
She was somewhat dismissively told a recent x-ray, for a coincidental cleaning, hadn’t revealed a thread. I wondered if x-rays would reveal thread in any case, but trusted your crew at East Village Dental, as I’ve always been rewarded for doing.
Still in some discomfort on the lower left side, she got back to college this week at Ohio University and SWORE there was a thread sticking out. Went to a dentist there, who found the thread, sure enough—with a bunch of food embedded in and around it.
Dr. T—————, I love your whole business. Which is why I want you to share this with everyone who worked on S——’s case on her multiple visits over the last few weeks. She was made to feel like she was wimpy about pain (as a college athlete, she is not, I can assure you) … and dismissed back to college with dental detritus embedded in her gum.
Happy to discuss further—also happy just to hear you guys heard from me (and S——) on this.
The dentist replied three hours later:
My apologies – I feel very bad about that. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I actually do the surgery and my staff usually remove the sutures. Sometimes, it is very difficult to see the stitch particularly when the patient is in pain. We try to do it without hurting our patients and without giving them more anaesthetic for such a simple procedure.
My apologies to S—— as well.
X Rays would definitely not reveal the suture.
I appreciate the email and I will discuss this with my staff – hopefully it will be a good lesson for us. I also appreciate your understanding and your “soft approach ” to the problem. We are “guilty as charged.”
Yes, I felt pretty good about that—not just the style of our exchange, but the potential impact it might have, at the dentist’s office and in our relationship with the dentist.
How can I be involved in more conversations like that—and none, like the online attack on the sorry snow-blowing samaritan?