Professor: Dentists Should Be Barred From Helping Border Patrol

Lending service to your country is now apparently an act of professional disgrace. At least, that’s the view of Boston University School of Medicine professor Sondra Crosby, who wrote this week that the American Dental Association should “explicitly prohibit” dentists from taking oral X-rays of migrants at the border. This practice, which helps patrol agents determine the ages of migrants who cannot produce any other form of documentation, is often used by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to classify migrants as either adults or children.

“Aside from the fact that dental radiograph analysis as a method of age determination is scientifically unreliable, obtaining and analyzing dental radiographs to determine if a child is to be sent to an adult prison is in violation of the American Dental Association (ADA) Principles of Ethics, specifically the principle of nonmaleficence,” writes Crosby and the young academics who helped her with the plea.

We have no particular first-hand knowledge as to whether or not this sort of analysis is reliable or not when it comes to determining a person’s age, but we do know from Crosby’s use of the words “adult prison” that this is not a serious argument. This is a politically-driven screed against the Trump administration’s policies, and certainly nothing more than that. It is shameful that such a partisan letter should be couched in the language of academia or phrased in such a way to cast doubt on a dentist’s ethics. Let’s call it what it is: The kind of mind-numbingly stupid, bleeding-heart leftism you can read in the Washington Post’s opinion section every day of the week.

“Using dental radiographs to determine age in this context does not provide any benefit to the child and may be associated with significant harms,” the academics continue. “The conditions in adult detention centers are dangerous: A recent Inspector General report of a Texas detention center found dangerous overcrowding that led to standing room only in most cells, threats to health and safety of both detainees and employees, and dangerous temperatures inside and outside the holding facility.

“Health professionals should never use their training or skills to act as agents of the state to accomplish a political agenda. Estimating a child’s age from dental radiographs is inaccurate, is of no benefit to the child, and causes harm. We recommend that ICE and ORR immediately halt the practice of using dental radiographs for determining age, and we call on the ADA to explicitly prohibit dentists from participating,” they conclude.

Again, with feeling: No one is forcing any of these people to come to the United States. Our sympathies beyond that point are limited at best.


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