Posts Tagged ‘Anesthesia’

A Personal Story: Cost Overshadows Everything – Anne and Evan, Lebanon

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Anne is 60 and has an 18 year old adopted son, Evan, with Downs Syndrome. Anne explains that people with Downs Syndrome have short, spindly fragile teeth that break a lot. She’s determined that her son be able to keep his teeth in the best condition possible: “His smile is his passport to the world.” Evan’s local dentist retired and that dentist’s replacement left, so Anne now has to drive from Lebanon, New Hampshire, to Burlington for dental care for Evan. Because of Evan’s Downs Syndrome, he needs to have all dental work done under anesthesia, and even routine care is complicated. He recently had an x-ray, fillings, extractions and sealants, and Anne just got the bill for $4,000. Usually Evan’s maintenance work costs $1,700, and is not covered by insurance. “It should be done every six months, but I don’t have $1,700 every six months.” Anne put the dental work on her Visa card. “On one card alone I have a $22,500 balance and almost all of it’s this.”

Anne needs to have a knee replaced. She has trouble walking, falls a lot, and she says, “the pain is excruciating.” Anne says that the cost of Evan’s dental care prevents her from having the money to get her knee replaced. “The ripple effect of this is so huge, I can hardly talk about this without crying. I can’t walk. Sometimes I order groceries in. There was no handicapped parking space tonight … I don’t know how much longer I can go on.”