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Vehemently protesting when told that a two months' wait must ensue before his name reaches the top of the list for dental overhauling, many a student has left the Hygiene Building in disgust. An eight weeks delay while awaiting replacement of a lost filling, drilling-out of a cavity, or a cleaning job seems a long, long time. Of course, really important emergency work of any sort gets immediate treatment, but the routine repair cases find themselves at the bottom of an interminable column of names. And, though perhaps to a lesser extent, medical care of a less-than-immediate danger involves a long gap between application and appointment.
But before hysterical cries of inefficiency and indifference are bandied about, a closer glimpse at the picture might be appropriate. Survey of the dental situation in the Boston area would show that the University's problem is merely a symptom of a general trend. Throughout New England, throughout the entire nation, the tale of woe seems to be the same--overworked dentists and doctors, overcrowded hospitals, everywhere besieged by long waiting lines.
And the reason! Perhaps the capacity of our medical and dental schools is just not great enough to serve the country's needs. Perhaps people with more money than they have ever had before find themselves indulging in long-postponed or purely unnecessary medical and dental work. But regardless of the cause, the deficiency remains with us. And whatever the ultimate solution--more medical training facilities, a much broader public health program, or some form of socialized medicine--years will certainly elapse before adequate service appears. Until then, the only alternative seems to be the usual patience and fortitude.
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