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Oral surgeon does free procedure so woman can get cancer treatment

Updated: Mar. 31, 2021 at 12:46 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - When one Dexter woman was in desperate need of a surgery, she kept getting turned away by doctors.

But one local oral surgeon not only took her in, he decided to do the procedure for free.

It’s finally the day Dorothy Gagnon has been waiting for. She has head and neck cancer and cannot move forward with radiation treatment until she has all of her teeth removed.

“Well, if I don’t get all my teeth taken out, the radiation is not going to work because the cancer will come back,” she said.

Dorothy’s representatives at the Walker Cancer Center in Watertown had been trying to get Dorothy an appointment for months, but her insurance doesn’t cover the procedure. Time after time, she was turned away by doctors.

“I prayed all that day and that night for a miracle to happen and it did,” she said.

The Walker Cancer Center reached out to Dr. Reed Attisha at Oral Surgery & Pediodontics NNY.

“I said, ‘Absolutely.’ Immediately I said, ‘Have her come see me the next day,’” said Dr. Attisha.

Not only did Dr. Attisha get Dorothy in quickly, he also decided to do the surgery for free.

“Every day I wake up and I thank the Lord that I’m able to get up, provide for my family, and be healthy. So giving back to the community is a must. She needs this treatment in a very timely manner. When someone has cancer, every day that passes without treatment is devastating to the prognosis, so I’m happy to help. Happy to do it again in a heartbeat,” he said.

Dorothy had 18 teeth extracted. It would normally cost about $3,000.

Though Dr. Attisha isn’t getting paid for the work, he says the real value is helping someone in need.

“I am so grateful for this dentist office. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have a second chance on life,” said Dorothy.

Dorothy can now move forward with radiation treatment in three weeks. She says Oral Surgery NNY has been her miracle.

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