Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Meiners Dentistry Recognized in Independence Examiner

The Examiner
Posted Jul 15, 2009 @ 12:31 AM

Blue Springs, MO —

Zach Levy went from one extreme to the next in a few innings.
Levy, catcher for the Central Spartans of St. Peters, Mo., an American Legion team visiting for the Wood Bat Invitational, started the tournament off with a walk-off homer to give the Spartans a win over Warrensburg Post 131.
A few innings later, he was being rushed to the nearest dentist.
In the second game of their doubleheader, the Spartans took on the Lansing (Kan.) Post 411 Cavalry. Levy would only make it to the sixth inning. He would leave the game with two broken front teeth, one of which was completely shattered.
“It was kind of outrageous,” Levy said. “It just caught me way off guard.”
The pitch was fouled back. But instead of hitting Levy’s glove, it hit his facemask. The mask then broke, sending the metal bracket into Levy’s mouth, busting his lip, nose, and teeth.
“It just threw my head back,” he said. “I kinda felt these rock particles in my mouth and hoped it was dirt or something. But I felt around my mouth with my tongue and realized my tooth was gone.”
Levy didn’t know what had happened.
“I was shocked at first. I was pretty dazed.”
Luckily for him, Blue Springs Post 499/Fike assistant coach Matt Haggerty came to the rescue. Haggerty just happens to be a dentist when he’s not coaching the bases for Fike.
“I went over and looked at the kid and saw a red hole where the tooth was cracked – and I knew that wasn’t good,” Haggerty said.
That red hole was the tooth’s nerve ending. That sent Zach’s mother, Karen, completely over the edge.
“He couldn’t do anything. He couldn’t drink water because the nerve ending was showing,” she said. “We didn’t know what to do. We’re from out of town. We didn’t know anybody.”
Haggerty led them into the tournament room and iced the mouth of Levy. Although he couldn’t do anything, because Fike was scheduled to play next, Haggerty did know somebody that could.
“I called Drs. Zack and Don Meiners in Independence – a father/son dentist team. They said to get him up there and they performed a root canal. I heard they were really great to the young man,” Haggerty said.
Karen, although distressed, was elated to see the Dr. Donald Meiners and his staff standing at the door, waiting for them.
“I almost cried to see they stopped what they were doing at the end of the day to stay for complete strangers and rushed Zach right into the chair,” she said. “They never asked once about our dental or medical insurance information. As far as they knew, we didn’t have any. They were only concerned with one thing: caring (for) and fixing my son.”
Zach was surprised by the amount of care he got as well.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “We just walked right in and they took care of me.”
Meiners was just happy to help.
“I said, ‘Let’s help out this kid.’ And that’s what we did,” he said. “Dana Callahan, Lori Lappert, all my staff, they did a great job in helping out the family.”
Karen was stunned at the lack of concern for the business side of the situation by Dr. Meiners.
“It wasn’t until long after the care was being provided they asked if we had insurance, which we do, and even so, they were not concerned if we were good for our bill,” Karen said.
“That’s kind of the way we work around here,” Dr. Meiners replied.
After the storm of pain and worry had calmed, Zach thought of his team. Being the only catcher on the team, he assumed the worst.
“I thought we would’ve had to forfeit or cancel the tournament.”
That was not the case.
The next day, the Central Spartans took the field against Hi-Boy Drive In/Post 340, with Zach starting at catcher.
“I had a temporary filling and wore a mouthpiece and played the next game,” he said.
After the Spartans game on Friday, the Levys went back to Dr. Meiners office for what turned out to be their last visit.
Levy returned for the rest of the tournament, but not without getting a few new nicknames from his teammates.
“They called me Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber, they called me Chip,” Levy said, chuckling. “They had some laughs with me.”
Levy is considering a career in hockey now, as well.
“I’m thinking about it,” he said, jokingly. “I definitely felt like a hockey player.”
The Levys are now home, and Zach is “feeling great.” But Karen will always remember the kindness she and her son were shown in Eastern Jackson County.
“People at the park asked me over and over again how Zach, or that catcher with the broken tooth, is doing,” Karen said. “It was just so amazing to see the amount of care and attention we received.”