Health Science Center forensic dentist on scene in Baton Rouge


David Senn, D.D.S., a forensic dentist who helped identify victims of September 11 at Ground Zero in New York, is in Baton Rouge, La., as part of a regional team sent to begin the process of identifying victims of Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Senn is a clinical assistant professor of dental diagnostic science at the Health Science Center.

Dr. Senn is with former Health Science Center Dental School fellows Paula Brumit, D.D.S., of Dallas and David Scott, D.D.S., of Graham. They are part of the Region VI Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT) from Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

They were en route from Texas as Katrina was raging and arrived in Baton Rouge Monday, Dr. Senn said Thursday night.

“We have been busy setting up a disaster morgue in a Baton Rouge suburb and getting the appropriate equipment, supplies and personnel into Louisiana for the identification effort,” he said. “We have pathologists, anthropologists and odontologists arriving daily from all parts of the U.S. in preparation for beginning our work as soon as the search-and-rescue portion of the operation is complete and all of the living victims are safe.” Odontology is the scientific study of teeth.

Dr. Senn expects to be in Louisiana through Sept. 12. DMORT has another team in Alabama setting up for the Alabama and Mississippi victims.

“This operation is much more complex than the World Trade Center and may have more fatalities,” Dr. Senn said. “We do not yet have good estimates on the number of victims.”

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