Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - Overcrowded Emergency Rooms In Central Texas:

Austin, Texas, is fluoridated:

"Jenny Pearson knows her tooth abscess could be better treated at a dentist, the problem is she couldn't get a dentist to accept her Medicaid despite her pain.

“Sitting there crying in tears telling her I hurt, she said go to the hospital,” Pearson said. “I can't do nothing for you.”

So Pearson turned to the ER, the only place--by federal law--that can not turn her away . She first took the bus to Brackenridge. They were also busy.

“We sat there for five hours and called a friend to come get me,” Pearson said. “He brought me here.”

This is actually Pearson's second time to come to the emergency room for her tooth abscess, a problem that needs follow up at a dentists office.

“She has made every effort on her part to try and arrange for proper follow up care and she got rejected because of her Medicaid and so she's back now in the emergency department with her face all swollen up and again,” said Dr. Corey Jones St. David's Hospital’s chief of emergency medicine. “This is not the place to be because we're not oral surgeons.”

In Texas, dentists don't accept Medicaid from adults, but accessing dental care is not the only problem.