INSIDE EDITION Investigates Mobile Dentistry
Mobile dentists are sometimes sent to schools to provide dental care for needy children. But some families are crying foul, saying their kids were harmed and taxpayers are being billed f
It sounds like a good idea - mobile dentists sent to schools to provide dental care for needy children. But some families are now crying foul, saying their kids were harmed by dentists drilling for dollars.
Darren and Stacey Gagnon say their four-year-old son Isaac was given two baby root canals and two steel crowns by an independent dentist scheduled to visit Isaac’s school after the school contracted with a company called Reachout Healthcare America.
What’s worse, say the Gagnon’s, is that the dentist, Dr. Alvin Coon (who they never met) performed the operations without their consent in of all places - the school’ art room in CampVerde, AZ.
“I couldn’t believe that they were doing these procedures in a classroom,” said Stacy Gagnon.
She also says Isaac was never given any anesthetic or medication to numb the pain.
“We found that 3 adults held him down while he kicked and screamed and gagged to get away from them,” said Stacy Gagnon.
Today, she claims the experience was so traumatic, Isaac suffers from night terrors, which she recorded on her cell phone.
“He just kept saying the dentist man got me, the dentist man got me,” said Stacy Gagnon.
Stacey says a recorded phone call she had with a Reachout representative proves the work done on Isaac was performed without her permission:
Reachout Representative: “The reason for my call is to inform the parents that we are going to have a dentist at the school…”
Stacy says she agreed to a basic examination but specifically asked for prior notification before any serious work was needed on Isaac.
Stacey: “Can I get a call first.”
Reachout Representative: “…I'll put that if they need anything else, for them to contact you first, ok?...”
Stacey: “Right, ok.”
But Stacey says she never received a phone call and was shocked when Isaac came home from school with those steel crowns.
She says a pediatric dentist who later examined Isaac’s mouth concluded the work was not only unnecessary but not even done properly.
“The more kids they see, the more work they do, the more money they make. It’s outrageous. He deserves to go to jail for what he did,” said Darren Gagnon.
INSIDE EDITION’s Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero tried to speak with Dr. Coon as he was leaving a McDonalds.
“Dr. Coon, we'd like to talk to you about a little boy you operated on without his parent’s permission,” said Guerrero.
But Dr. Coon didn’t want to talk and hurried to get into his car.
“Why won't you speak with us? Are you performing too much work on too many kids in order to maximize profits?” asked Guerrero as Dr. Coon reversed out of his parking space.
But before Guerrero could get out of the way, Dr. Coon hit Guerrero's leg with his car. Guerrero was clipped in the leg as Dr. Coon sped off.
Texas trial lawyer Jim Moriarty is representing the Gagnons, who are now suing Dr. Coon for malpractice.
“There is no excuse for these children to be receiving dental care at school. These children are completely helpless,” said Moriarty.
Dr. Coon denies he did anything wrong.
The Gagnon’s are also suing Reachout Healthcare America – the company that scheduled Isaac’s appointment with Dr. Coon – accusing them of raking in millions of taxpayer dollars by performing excessive procedures on traumatized kids.
Reachout Healthcare America denies the allegations and says they provide valuable services for underprivileged children who might otherwise never see a dentist. Reachout says they do not employ any dentists, including Dr. Coon, or make patient care decisions for the mobile dentists that visit the schools in over 21 states.
Please contact INSIDE EDITION’s I-SQUAD, by clicking here, if you have any information or would like to comment about mobile dentists that visited schools in your area.
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