A BORDER public dental clinic will reimburse a Tallangatta couple for the cost of their daughter’s urgent dental surgery yesterday.
Amy and Trevor Burkitt had felt compelled to borrow $3800 for six-year-old Hayley’s surgery from Mrs Burkitt’s parents.
They were then left frustrated in their attempts to get a letter from Albury Wodonga Health’s dental clinic that would have allowed them to draw down on Mr Burkitt’s superannuation to cover the cost.
The Human Services Department requires a letter of verification.
But it wasn’t until The Border Mail highlighted their plight on Thursday that the clinic approached the Burkitts to solve the problem.
Hayley had the two-hour operation at Albury Day Surgery yesterday to remove a tooth that had been blocking an adult molar in her gums, causing extreme pain.
The Burkitts had an hour-long meeting with clinic management late on Thursday.
“They said they would reimburse whatever’s already been paid,” Mrs Burkitt said.
“They were very apologetic for what had happened.”
Mrs Burkitt said the manager they had spoken to was “upset with her staff” for not bringing the matter to her attention.
“She was lovely, she was really good and supportive,” she said.
The Burkitts — who were eligible for a healthcare card up until two years ago — were told the pain suffered by Hayley was still not considered extreme enough to meet the criteria for public system treatment.
But the clinic reimbursed the family because of the problems it had with the clinic.
Mrs Burkitt said she remained puzzled as to why Hayley did not meet the public patient criteria, given she was so young.
“If there was a need for a filling with a bit of a toothache, I could understand her being put off,” she said.
“But someone in Hayley’s position with the potential deformity of the jaw line and nerve damage that is quite severe — it’s something you would do right now.
“That is more traumatising to a child than it is to an adult.”
The clinic will also pay hospital expenses the Burkitts incurred.
Mrs Burkitt said the hardest thing for Hayley was fasting for her operation.
“She was excited to wear her pyjamas to the hospital,” she said.
“She focused on being hungry and we did all we could to keep her calm.”