My 18-year-old son, who has Down Syndrome, had a dental procedure last week. We were supposed to have it done in March, but due to the cancellation of outpatient procedures, it was postponed until then.
His teeth needed major cleaning, and since he has a ton of oral sensory issues, sedation has become necessary. All went well, thankfully. However, that night the dentist called and talked with my husband, who is an urgent care physician, about another condition he discovered. Our son has a yeast infection around and slightly inside of his mouth.
The dentist said in 25 years of practice, he had only seen about five cases of this, until 2020. This year alone, he has seen at least 30. Some dentists sounded the alarm about this six months ago, but it doesn’t fit the narrative, so you probably didn’t hear about it. The working terminology for this new condition is “mask mouth.”
My son has other medical conditions that make extensive mask wearing counter-indicated. However, he’s been at the hospital several times lately, where he’s had to wear his mask, and we recently learned it’s required at a place his class volunteers and works for about three hours a day.
We thought his health could tolerate this, but unfortunately, it appears we were wrong. His oral hygiene issues make extended mask-wearing even more detrimental than we realized.
You’d think this might stir up an important discussion, and this rash of mask-related conditions might cause us to reconsider mask mandates, or at least to have a reasonable discussion about this issue. But no. Dissenting opinions are not tolerated, even—and especially—within professional medical associations.
My husband participates in an online discussion group of physicians. I’ll not name the group; suffice it to say it’s full of Missouri physicians. Last week’s discussion centered on some members of the group’s desire to encourage Missouri Gov. Michael Parson to issue a statewide mask mandate.
This went much farther than a simple discussion of medical viewpoints. One physician in that group said, “I view those who would not mask as equivalent to enemy combatants.” Whoa.
He went on to say he would have the same enmity toward such a person as he would toward a neighbor who chose to ignore the “no lights after dark” rule in a city under night-time bombardment. He expressed disdain for his fellow citizens. While he noted that he would still treat these individuals as his oath required, he said he would do so while mindful of their selfishness.
My husband, ever kind and thoughtful, and not one for debates, pondered this man’s words for a day or so and then voiced his dismay. He wasn’t surprised when several other doctors jumped on the “enemy combatant” bandwagon. He expected that.
What troubled us was that several physicians messaged Steve privately and thanked him for speaking up. They were concerned about the professional ramifications of speaking up, and understandably so! Dissent is not tolerated in this Orwellian nightmare we find ourselves in.
Intelligent, well-educated, accomplished men and women who have attended college and medical school and completed back-breaking, sleep-deprived residencies so they can care for American citizens cannot have a discussion about the science behind wearing masks. Physicians are well-aware of the fact that numerous medications, procedures, and treatments that were once considered “scientifically proven standard of care” a few years ago are now considered malpractice!
That’s the “science” of medicine: it’s ever-changing, not settled. Research is needed, and hypotheses, questions, and discussions drive that research—unless the questions aren’t allowed and the discussions are prohibited and the ones who dare to simply wonder are doxxed.
I’m not here to debate the merits of mask wearing, truly. I’m here to decry the current state of affairs. The mantra “First, Do No Harm” means, at least in part, weighing the risks and benefits of a medical treatment.
I am here to argue that any medical intervention, including mask-wearing, should be a decision made by the individual in consultation with their physician. And that physician should be allowed to review the evidence, scant or great as it might be, on the efficacy of mask wearing versus the risk or benefit to their particular patient, and decide what’s best.
In fact, I would argue that many individuals are capable of making that determination as well. In my son’s case, he has multiple conditions for which mask wearing is counter-indicated. We are fortunate, because his awesome extra chromosome shines for the world to see and sometimes causes people to show some grace.
However, many individuals’ conditions aren’t as obvious, yet apparently they are now viewed by some inside (and outside) the medical profession as “enemy combatants.” People who do not wear a mask have been determined to literally be trying to kill people.
The difference between a patriot and an “enemy combatant” has now been defined for us by a piece of paper attached to our ears by stretchy string. Dear Lord, what has happened to us?
This article originally published with LakeExpo.com, a local outlet. It is republished here with permission.