He needs the help now.
Years ago when he rented a studio from me in the 619 Western building, he called me asking for help. I came over to find him pulling splinters of a broken tooth out of his mouth with a pair of needle nose pliers. I was able to help him at that time.
That was more traumatizing for Carl than I realized. Aside from the obvious tooth pain and an inevitably traumatic dentist visit, it turned out that Carl was extremely phobic of dentists. This phobia and his lack of insurance has caused years of pain and neglect.
Recently, Carl returned to the dentist after the loss of several fillings. The dentist he saw was one of only a handful here that accepted Apple Care (Medicaid) insurance. It took months for the dentist to be able to see him. The dentist gave the worst news possible; his teeth could not be salvaged. They would all have to be pulled and he would get dentures.
With a little help from some friends, Carl was able to get a second opinion from another dentist. This dentist told him that his teeth were salvageable and should be saved. It would take a series of root canals, bridges and crowns. This new dentist was confident that total extraction and dentures would be both unnecessary and very traumatic. With full dental insurance (not Medicaid) the out of pocket costs would be only $25,000 to $30,000. He could start promptly, but this would be a process that would be long and drawn out.
At this point, the search for another option began. Medical tourism. Between a team of international caseworkers specializing in dental tourism and friends reaching out independently to clinics, a glimmer of hope emerged.
A dentist from Poliklinka Bagatin in Zagreb, Croatia offered the best estimate for Carl’s dental work based on his X-rays and files. He also shared the opinion that dentures were unnecessary and his teeth could be salvaged. This dentist is from a modern, trusted and highly reviewed clinic that specializes in working with foreign patients. The clinic staff stayed in clear communication over Skype calls and daily emails, lending great credibility to the international option. The costs are also considerably more affordable, allowing for all the work to be completed in a single trip. Getting this done by the end of the year is critical, as any further filling or tooth loss would complicate matters.
In some ways I know I don’t always need to be my brother’s keeper, but my instinct is to help when a friend is in need. I have been looking for a way to help Carl with this problem and this seems the only way. This campaign is intended to raise the funds to help him go abroad and take care of this major dental work during December of this year. We are grateful for any amount donated, any words spread and shares of this story.
We are sincerely thankful for any help you can provide.
With time getting short and deadlines growing near, our friend Vera Pashkevich has stepped up to take care of the international planning, coordination and communications with the clinic. She will also ensure that Carl's fears don't get the best of him and she will get him to his appointments on time.
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