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Monday, September 05, 2011

Dental Care is Important

Thank you Mr. Cohen for pointing out this news story that underscores that dental care is important and must be prioritized. For new blog readers or infrequent readers, dental care is something that many forgo to pay for other things (including tuition).

And only 24 years old. How sad.

Update: No this post is not about the health care debate. Yes, certainly he could have made different choices. Bottom line, dental care is health care and I've seen enough anecdotes/posts about forgoing dental care for tuition (not that I'm doing the math) and I don't think it is wise. Done. :)


Anonymous said...

Geez. Very sad.

The real lesson is that insurance must be more accessible and affordable. The guy died for no reason.

tesyaa said...

I read a news story about a child who died in similar circumstances. It makes you shudder.

Anonymous said...

It is very likely that this man's poor choices related to this outcome. Do you think he might have saved money on stuff, if say, he wasn't a father at 18? He was 24 and left a 6 year old behind. Think he might have saved money if he hadn't bought the jewelry he is wearing in the photo? We don't really know the whole story, I hope the point is that dental care is critical, not that poor people die for lack of $20 for anti-biotics.

ProfK said...

Agree that dental care is highly important, but also agree that we don't know the whole story.

Every major hospital in the US has emergency dental care available and many have regular dental clinics for the indigent. If the hospital could warn him that the infection from the tooth could affect his brain, why didn't it pull the tooth? If he went to the emergency room the first time, why didn't he go when his head began to swell? Certainly public hospitals are required to treat all emergency patients regardless of ability to pay.

Yes, it's sad that a tooth infection ended up killing this man, but there is a lot more to the story than what we were told and we don't really know who was responsible for what in this situation.

conservative scifi said...

ProfK and Anonymous,
I get very "hot" about this issue. While the care may be "free", whenever you begin the checkin process (unless you're bleeding and unconscious), the first thing hospitals try to obtain is your insurance or payment information. If this poor young man, with a brain infection no less, felt he couldn't pay, he may not have realized that the hospital would treat him anyway. It's pretty clear the hospital didn't give him the antibiotics themselves, but just a prescription, which he was unable to afford.
Whether he went after the swelling began or not, frequently it is too late.

This is a classic case where the Republicon party line on health care results in less care, more dangerous care and less efficiency. Had the man had dental insurance, the societal cost to treat him would have been the hundred dollar cost of tooth extraction. Instead, he was treated for who knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars for the resulting encephalitis. This is just like the 12 year old Deamonte Driver case in Maryland, where a simple tooth extraction would have saved his life, but instead more than $250,000 in emergency hospital care was spent. The probably 1/2 million dollars spent in hospital costs for these two alone would cover dental insurance for 1000 low income families. But most Republicons would rather let them die.

tesyaa said...

Great comment, conservative scifi.

JS said...

Spot on, Conservative Sci-fi.

While the details of this case may not be 100% clear, events like it take place across the country on a daily basis. People don't have insurance and don't have the money for out-of-pocket care and small problems slowly fester until they become serious medical issues. It's very easy to say as someone with insurance and money to spare for medical and dental care, "Why didn't they just go to a clinic? Why didn't they just go to an emergency room? It's free." It's really not that simple. If it's so wonderful, why not try getting free medical care for yourself and your family at these clinics or at an emergency room. Talk to doctors who have to put in hours at these clinics and see what their impressions are. Also, consider an employee who would need to spend an entire day to receive care from this facility and the fact that the person doesn't receive a needed paycheck that day or, worse, may be fired for taking time off the job.

We deny medical care that is routine and costs a few tens or hundreds of dollars and wait until the person comes in with severe medical problems that cost tens or hundreds of thousands. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Our medical system is completely upside down - focused on expensive scanners and procedures to bring people back from the brink instead of making sure they never end up there to begin with.

There are many areas within the broad health care arena that need to be reformed. The solution isn't to leave people uninsured and pretend that that results in lower overall costs for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you JS and Conservative Sci Fi. While I'm a firm believer in personal responsibility, I am aghast at blaming the victim. We have no idea what life circumstances led this young man to be a father at a young age or to not understand the threat posed by his condition. He might have been irresponsible, but I don't think that warrants the death penalty, although many tea partiers and so called pro-lifers would disagree. I too am anti abortion on demand, but it never ceases to amaze me how many pro-lifers are so interested in fetuses and people in a permanent vegatative state, but not the health and well-being of fetuses after they are born or before they are in a permanent coma.

tesyaa said...

Why did you add the postscript that the post is not about the health care debate? In previous posts, you have expressed satisfaction when a comment thread has taken off in a different direction than the original post's intent. As long as everyone is respectful, I don't see what's bad about discussing health care.

Mr. Cohen said...

A study performed by the New York State University at Buffalo discovered that people with severe gum disease were twice as likely to suffer a stroke than people who had healthy gums.

SOURCE: The Stroke Book (chapter 1, page 12) by June Biermann and Barbara Toohey, published in 2005 by the Penguin Group

Getting your teeth cleaned often by a Dentist or Dental Technician will slow down gum disease and tooth decay.

Mr. Cohen said...

Researchers at Columbia University recently established that people with periodontal disease are at greater risk of becoming diabetic.

SOURCE: Sugar Nation (chapter 5, page 81) by Jeff O’Connell, published in year 2010 by Harper Collins

Getting your teeth cleaned often by a Dentist or Dental Technician will slow down gum disease and tooth decay.

Jessica said...

Yes, it very very vital in our lives. So teeth should be taken care as much as possible. Good thing that I have my own Richmond Dentist who's taking care of my teeth.

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The real lesson is that insurance must be more accessible and affordable. The guy died for no reason.
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