Hand It On: Dentist makes house calls to woman in need

PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - In this day and age, when some would agree insurance companies run doctor offices, this is a great story of old fashioned "doctoring," reminiscent of Dr. Marcus Welby, MD from the 1970s.

I know I'm showing my age now, but for those who do not remember, Robert Young played Dr. Marcus Welby on the 1970s television weekly drama, Marcus Welby, MD. He was an old fashioned doctor who made house calls and follow-ups with patients.

Our "Marcus Welby" in this story wishes to remain completely anonymous. We will honor that wish. However, we want to share this inspiring story anyway.

Lee Ann Weber's mother is homebound and bedridden. Lee Ann and her first cousin, Kim Rivere, care for Lee Ann's 81-year-old mother in Port Allen. Lee Ann tells the story of how her mother's lower dentures were somehow accidentally thrown away or misplaced. Lee Ann tried to take her mother to a dentist to have a mold taken for new dentures to be created. The process was extremely taxing not only on Lee Ann and cousin Kim, but quite taxing on Lee Ann's mother as well. After multiple attempts, it was quite apparent if any dental work was to be done on mom, it would have to be done in home.

That's where the problem began. Between Lee Ann and Kim, about a dozen phone calls were made to local dental institutions. They heard everything from: "we don't do that" and "our staff does not make house calls," to "our insurance prohibits us from practicing outside our office" and "our staff is not licensed to practice dentistry outside our facility."

At their wits end and almost giving up, one more phone call found "Dr. Welby."

This dentist agreed to help in any way he could. Within a three week period, "Dr. Welby" made three visits to Lee Ann's home in Port Allen. After a pretty comprehensive dental examination, the doctor determined he could indeed make a new lower plate for mom. He took a mold of mom's gums, went back to his Baton Rouge office, and carefully crafted a new set of bottom dentures for mom.

On his final visit to their Port Allen home, "Dr. Welby" delivered brand new bottom dentures that fit mom perfectly! She could now enjoy solid food once again.

Lee Ann and her cousin Kim wanted very much to Hand It On to this wonderful "anonymous angel," but he would not hear of it. Through conversations with his office staff, Lee Ann and  Kim learned this doctor's favorite charity was the Louisiana Mission of Mercy (LaMoM) project through the Louisiana Dental Association. So Lee Ann and Kim donated the $300 Hand It On gift to this incredible project in the doctor's name.

Louisiana Mission of Mercy is a charitable project in which dental care is provided free of charge for people who cannot afford to go to the dentist. Their mission statement is:

We seek to deliver quality dental care to the underserved population of Louisiana by partnering with dental team members and lay volunteers in a free, temporary dental clinic setting.

The date for the 2017 LaMoM has not been finalized yet, but during the 2016 Mission of Mercy event, dental health care professionals did 8,724 dental procedures, saw 1,537 patients, welcomed over 1,000 volunteers, and donated $1,095,077 in dental care.

If you would like to get involved with Louisiana Mission of Mercy as a volunteer, whether you are a dental health care professional or not, or if you would like to make a cash donation toward the 2017 event, click here.

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