September 06, 2011

24-Year Old, Uninsured Cincinnati Father Dies of a Toothache

Last week, a 24-year old father died of a tooth infection because he had no insurance and could not afford the antibiotic medications prescribed to treat that infection.

This story brings to light a number of issues, most importantly, the choices people must make when it comes to finding affordable health and dental care. But what cannot be ignored was the potential for intervention, mainly the fact that this young man went to an emergency department after the swelling became worse and he was prescribed antiobiotics and pain killers. Being limited of funds, he chose the pain killers. A conversation with a health care provider on the importance of the antiobiotics may have, at the very least, bought this young man more time to save money to have a procedure done.

Another issue raised here is that our society undervalues oral health care. This young man's condition was completely treatable and there is no reason he should have died from a toothache. There are a number of systems that failed here, and perhaps this incident should be a reminder that dental care is still a critical component of overall health.

For more on this story, visit ABC news.

Posted by Staff at 10:44 AM
Category: Disparities; Health; Uninsured; care; communication; dental; patient-physician

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