An 11-year-old girl went in for a routine teeth cleaning on Monday morning and by Friday the girl was fighting for her life in a dedicated children’s hospital. However, if it wasn’t for an astute dentist, the little girl’s situation could have been gravely worse. The little girl’s mother says the dentist and dental hygienist saved her daughter’s life by noticing something that wasn’t quite right with her eyes.
KFOR reports that 11-year-old Journee Woodard from Edmond, Oklahoma, was at the dentist for a routine teeth cleaning when her life changed. As Journee was getting her teeth cleaned, dental hygienist Rachel Stroble was not only looking at her teeth, but also her eyes as she spoke to the young girl. However, as she looked into the girl’s eyes, she noticed something that didn’t seem quite right. When Dr. Michael Chandler, Journee’s dentist, entered the room, he says Rachel asked him to take a look at his patient’s eyes instead of her teeth.
“She said you know, Journee’s eyes look yellow. She asked me to take a look, I took a look and said that does look abnormal.”
Therefore, following the teeth cleaning, Dr. Chandler told Journee’s mother that he thought something might not be quite right and that she should take the child to see a doctor as soon as possible. Journee’s mother scheduled an appointment and little did she know, her daughter would undergo nine hours of surgery following the diagnosis. Doctors requested a CAT scan and MRI which uncovered a grapefruit-sized mass on the child’s pancreas.
The family’s website, Journee’s Journey, notes that the girl had to undergo a “whipple procedure” which removes part of her pancreas, stomach, gall bladder and intestine. It was a major surgery that took over nine hours to complete. Journee’s mother is thankful that the dentist was able to provide the insight into her daughter’s condition. She calls him a hero and says he saved Journee’s life. However, Dr. Chandler says he is no hero and felt rather helpless during the whole ordeal.
“I didn’t feel like there was anything I could do to help, which is one of the harder things. Journee’s mother has called the office a few times…she’s been very grateful, she’s posted it on social media. It’s hard to feel like I’m a hero.”
The dentist says his office was just doing their job by being diligent. The dentist’s office has sent Journee their best wishes and they have been following her recovery.