As for your excoriating (often hilarious) evaluation of the Dragon kit, it's truly shocking - even after having personally seen how bad was their 1:700 San Diego CLAA.
Before going to resin, however, there may be another (at least, partial) option: reworking a boneyard Aurora "Halford", if you can find one for cheap. "Halford" in quotes, because this mold does not depict a (floatplane-modified) Fletcher, as was the real USS Halford, but a Sumner/Gearing. (No idea how that mixup came about.)
As such, the kit has absolutely no value other than as a pristene, unbuilt collector's item (with the box-top/art worth more than the plastic, IMHO). As one of Aurora's very earliest molds, it is of course heavy and crude, as was the standard - but even so, a lot better than the new Dragon, sounds- (and looks) like. A rough contemporary of the Revell Fletcher, the Aurora Halford is likewise a flat-bottomed boat - but personally, I'd much rather put the effort into slapping on a hull-bottom extension (or waterlining it) and detailing the superstructure - which I notice, you doing a bit of, anyway - than having to chop up the deck OOB, and glue-up a needlessly-segmented hull, to begin with. With which, you are absolutely right: Dragon has now outdone even Trumpeter, for sheer ridiculousness! (Plus, am I wrong or - just like on Dragon's 700-scale CLAA - does the hull-bottom look a bit too flat, especially for a DD?)
Finally, if you did restore a boneyard Aurora Halford (for which you should pay absolutely nothing), what you would end up with would be significantly larger - closer to 1:300 scale - yet not so much so that you couldn't also use spare 350-scale detail parts and PE - the most abundant/economical of these, available. One day I may make a hull-bottom correction for the Revell Fletcher, which could also "bolt-on" to the Aurora Halford hull, which is almost identical in size.
In any case, you're doing a yeoman's job on that Dragon "SumRing" (or "GearNer" ) - and even more so in Therapy for an ageing family member - that's really awesome, Donny!