Health Magazine

RMBF Warns Parents: Read the Fine Print!

Posted on the 28 March 2012 by Rmbf @rmbfkids

Written by: Lorraine Perez

RMBF Warns Parents: read the fine print!On March 23, 2012, a nine year old boy had four teeth extracted while in school allegedly without the consent of his parents. His mother, Tina Richardson, was furious claiming Big Smiles, a school based oral health program for low income children, did not obtain the necessary consent forms required to perform the extraction. The only form Tina Richardson recalls was back in September and claims it only requested permission to conduct the examination. However, a representative for Big Smiles states that the original form Ms. Richardson signed back in September contained the necessary consent signature to proceed with the extractions. Based on reports by, Big Smiles performed the procedure on Alexander Henry in an empty classroom. “I hope this isn’t going on all over the district somewhere, where they’re just going into classrooms and extracting teeth out of children’s heads,” Richardson said. However, based on the Big Smiles website this is exactly what is going on. Big Smiles describe the 7 necessary steps schools must take in order to recieve free dental visits. One of those steps states all that is required is the use of a room at least 180 square feet with no need for a sink.

In a statement issued by Big Smiles to

Big Smiles provides quality dental care to children in a school setting. It is our practice to always obtain informed consent and to only provide procedures that are medically necessary. We cannot provide details of this specific case without proper consent given federal laws that protect the privacy of the patient.

Jennifer Gorman, SD Unified’s Nursing & Wellness program manager, said it was her understanding Richardson had signed an authorization form. She said they would still look into what happened, even though this probably won’t be the last medical problem in local schools.
“These things, other things are going to happen that are beyond our control,” Gorman said.

It is situations such as the aforementioned which spark the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation to urge parents to “read the fine print“. Would you buy a car or purchase a home without reading every detail of the contract? I would hope not. The possibility of getting into a contract that does not meet your standards or financial boundaries is tremendous. Then why would you risk the well being of your child? All it takes is a few extra minutes to ensure you are in full understanding of what the document or contract indicates. Arrive a few minutes early or stop by a complete day early to give yourself enough time to read and absorb the implications of signing those forms. Additionally, this gives you the opportunity to ask the necessary questions when dealing with dental care. Simply because the service is free or low cost and the dental staff is making a trip to the school does not mean you do not have the right to ask questions or express concerns. One of the major questions parents should ask is “how prepared is the staff to deal with a Medical Emergency should a situation present itself?”

If you would like to know what kind of questions to ask a current or potential dental care physician then take a look at RMBF’s Top Six Question a Parent Should Ask.

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