I met Dr. Drew Smith, an oral surgeon, at Yankee Dental Congress in January. After hearing me speak, he shared very thoughtful sentiments about how my story impacted him. I was touched. It takes a special person, especially if it’s a male, to feel the need to express emotions and articulate them well. After several emails back and forth confirming me to speak in New Hampshire for a conference he organized, I learned what makes Drew Smith special.
Emails were halted for a period of time while he was on a trip to Honduras with his church. It was his fourth trip. He explained how caring for people’s oral health in Honduras was a freeing experience, because it is simply service to others hassle-free: no paperwork, no insurance, no referral letters, no Medicare, no phone calls, no scheduling issues. Helping others out of the goodness of your heart in the United States is different, often burdensome and requiring a means to protect yourself from liability.
A 4.5 hour school bus ride from the airport brought them to Copan, near the Guatemala border where 80 dental patients were waiting to be seen. Usually, painful teeth are extracted using a hammer and screw driver. In 4.5 days, he pulled 265 teeth, using Novocain, a miracle drug to them.
Medical doctors treated 600 patients for rampant malnutrition and physical ailments related to subsistence farming and sun related disorders from working outside all day. The Mayan Indians exist on corn and coffee causing stomach issues from the high acid content. From the mini pharmacy that is hauled along for the trip, there is something to help every individual.
Dr Drew Smith said in an email, “Each and every day helping people in Honduras is truly life-changing.”