Dr. Tammie packs her dentist’s bag for Jamaica
Stephens City dentist to offer five days of free dental treatment to Jamaicans
By Rachel Hamman, The Sherando Times
On September 25, 2010, Dr. Tammie Neal Miller will leave for the island of Jamaica. She is not going on a vacation, but is donating her services to the people who live in the beautiful valley called Lluidas Vale in the parish of St.
Catherine. Dr. Tammie has never been to Jamaica before, but her first trip will be one to give free dental treatments to people who otherwise could not afford them. When asked what made her decide to take this trip, Dr. Tammie says she feels like she is being called to do this. She is thankful God has given her this gift to help others. Also instrumental in her decision to go is her friend Diane Wright, who has been to Jamaica several times and really has a heart for the people there.
Dr. Tammie says she is both nervous and excited about going to Jamaica. She is nervous because she has never done field dentistry before and is concerned about working in a non-sterile environment.
She is especially concerned about the lack of running water in Lluidas Vale. According to Diane Wright, the water pump that pumps water to the town has been broken since April and she is not sure when the Jamaican government will get around to fixing it. The people there have to carry water from a mountain stream that flows through the town to the sugar cane factory.
They use this water for cooking, bathing and washing clothes. The Jamaicans collect rain water in barrels for drinking. Diane says she and Dr. Tammie will have to buy bottled water when they get to Jamaica because the water there is not safe to drink now.
Dr. Tammie says she will take the same precautions as she does with her patients here in Stephens City. She will wear gloves and a mask and will sterilize instruments.
She has already gotten her Hepatitis B shot in preparation for the trip. Dr. Tammie will be equipped to do several procedures when she gets to Jamaica. She is taking her "dental unit" which consists of an air compressor, a portable suction machine, a cavitron scaler, which she uses to clean teeth, and a blood pressure cuff. She is not taking a dental chair, so something she can use as a dental chair will have to be rigged up when she gets to Jamaica.
She is "setting up shop" at the Church of Christ in Lluidas Vale. She plans to do screenings and brief medical histories, dental exams, cleanings and emergency extractions. She will also be giving oral hygiene instructions to the Jamaicans. She will not be able to do x-rays because she does not have a portable xray machine. Dr. Tammie is particularly concerned about doing extractions because she will not be able to see the area beneath the tooth prior to extracting it.
However, she is taking antibiotics with her should the need for them arise. She can also prescribe antibiotics. She is not planning to do fillings on this trip but may be able to do them on a future trip to Jamaica. Dr. Tammie will not be doing any root canals this time around.
Jamaicans who live in or near Lluidas Vale are being asked to set up appointments, but Dr. Tammie is aware that there will be walk-ins. Diane Wright stated that when she participated in a medical trip to Jamaica a few years ago, there were already over a hundred people in line waiting for them when their medical team arrived. Dr. Tammie's visit to Jamaica is being publicized through word of mouth. With setting up appointments, however, Dr. Tammie is hoping to minimize chaos and see as many patients as possible within the designated "office hours". School children will not get out of school until 2:30, so children will be seen in the afternoon. While in Jamaica, Dr. Tammie says she "plans to see anywhere between 50 and 100 adults and children".
Dr. Tammie's Jamaican "office" will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M. the week of September 27, 2010 through October 1, 2010.
Dr. Tammie and Diane Wright will be flying to Jamaica on Saturday, September 25, 2010. On Sunday, they will be attending church at the Church of Christ in Lluidas Vale. Dr. Tammie will then work Monday through Friday, which is one day longer that her normal work week here in Stephens City.
On Saturday, October 2, 2010, Diane and Dr. Tammie will rent a thirty- five passenger bus and take as many Jamaicans as they can to the beach in Jamaica. They are going to a beach called Turtle Tower at Ocho Rios. Even though Jamaica is a relatively small island, many residents cannot travel to the beaches, so this will be an exciting part of the week for them, as much as it will be for Diane and Dr. Tammie. On Sunday, October 2, 2010, Diane and Dr. Tammie will attend church again and then return to the States on Monday, October 4, 2010.
Anyone who would like to make monetary donations for Dr. Tammie's trip to Jamaica can either make a donation at her office or mail a check to:
103 Highlander Road, Stephens City, VA 22655. Dr. Tammie's office phone is 540-869-2874 and her email is [email protected]. Her website address is www.fairfaxpikedental.com.
Anyone who is interested in buying some supplies to donate for Dr. Tammie's trip to Jamaica can choose from the following list:
- Infant's and Children's Motrin and Tylenol
- Adult Motrin and Tylenol
- Lysol disinfecting wipes
- Small bottles of hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol
- Bandaids for an emergency drug kit
- Ziploc bags, all sizes
- Small tubes of toothpaste
Any items you wish to donate can be dropped off at Dr. Tammie's office at the above listed address. Of course, prayers for the success of the trip are much appreciated. Depending on how things go for her initial trip, Dr. Tammie has hopes of returning every six months or so to the island to again offer her services to people in need of dental care.