“I’ll do whatever it takes,” Pamela* thought, the pain of her infected tooth consuming her entire body.
Alone in her apartment in Dundalk, she began to pool her rent money to pay for an emergency dental procedure. “It was excruciating,” she said. “I couldn’t eat anything. Everything was painful.”
Meanwhile, across town, Health Care for the Homeless Dental Director Parita Patel was figuring out how to safely reopen the dental clinic during a global pandemic. She thought about Pamela and the hundreds of other clients in desperate need of relief. Pain or homelessness is a choice no one should have to make. But dental care is expensive, and Maryland has no public insurance coverage for adults.
“I’ll do whatever it takes,” Parita said.
Pamela’s phone rang. It was Health Care for the Homeless. After seven long months, the dental clinic was reopening. She would be the first client in the chair.
“I knew I had an infection and the x-ray confirmed it,” Pamela said. “I was able to get it taken care of that day.”
“We’ve been so eager to get back,” Parita said. “And now we’re equipped to slowly start caring for clients in a safe environment.”
Pamela had her tooth removed at no cost and received antibiotics to treat the infection. She paid her
rent and is now pain free at home. “I don’t know what I would do if Health Care for the Homeless hadn’t been there,” Pamela says.
While we won’t be able to reach full capacity until a vaccine is in widespread use, we will do whatever it takes to remain open. Pamela and so many others are counting on us.
*This name is a pseudonym
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