Child Dies From Abscessed Tooth

18 Mar

Note: This story is from 2007, and copied from my previous blog, but it’s worth repeating. We should never forget the consequences of a two-tier insurance system: some people get treatment for a hangnail while others watch their child die of untreated toothache.

How can anyone say that we have no need for universal health coverage when children die or become ill from abscessed teeth?

Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren’t so hard to find.

If his mother hadn’t been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

By the time Deamonte’s own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George’s County boy died.

Deamonte’s death and the ultimate cost of his care…. could total more than $250,000….

from The Washington Post; full story at link.

As a country, we should be ashamed that even one person dies from a treatable bacterial infection. As a country, we should be on our knees begging forgiveness that a child died of a bacterial infection caused by an abscessed tooth.

That child could be yours or mine; that parent could be you or me. It takes so little to be kicked out of the privileged land of the insured and into the ranks of the serfs who have to wait for their handout from the feudal lord. One job loss. One extended illness. One financial hardship.

Deamonte Driver could be any of us, or any of ours.

Think really hard about this when you go to the polls.


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