Shaunda Shaw & Shineil Taylor
Brianna Ebony Simpson
Katie Thompson graduated from Georgia Perimeter College’s dental hygiene program knowing that her skills helped save Romitechus Robinson-Alexander’s life and improved her family’s health.
When Thompson first examined Robinson-Alexander’s teeth, her puffy, swollen, bleeding gums were too sensitive to be touched with a dental instrument. Her patient was taking many prescription drugs for congestive heart failure, diabetes and hypertension. Thompson took her extensive medical history and researched the drugs to make sure there were no side effects or counter-indications for her conditions. Thompson told Robinson-Alexander that several of those drugs caused her gums to swell and bleed and should not be used by someone with congestive heart failure.
Thompson’s GPC training told her it was necessary to treat the whole patient and not just the mouth. “Nutritional counseling, the extensive medical history, talking to her about her overall health, it all plays a part,” she said.
A short time later, Robinson-Alexander woke up and found the entire left side of her face was swollen and went to the emergency room. They said her hypertension drug Lisinopril was causing the swelling. She told the hospital staff that a GPC dental hygiene student had already told her that. They couldn’t believe a student had diagnosed the problem.
Thompson was right again when Robinson-Alexander had to be taken off of the drug Actos because it made her congestive heart failure worse. Thompson discovered that Actos was banned for people with congestive heart failure.
Robinson-Alexander said that Thompson telling her about the wrong prescriptions had changed her life. She now controls the chronic diseases she has struggled with for years. Her oral health has greatly improved, too. She lost weight and exercises regularly. Her family members also took Thompson’s advice about eating differently and exercising.