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.
Friday, March 02, 2007
How can this happen in what is supposed to be the richest nation in the world? Why -- in 2007 -- are we still held hostage to an inadequate health care system? Where were all the "compassionate conservatives" when Deamonte Driver needed them? And now that the Dems control Congress, and the state legislature in Maryland (where Deamonte lived), what are they going to do to prevent this from happening to others?
The Washington Post article, For Want of a Dentist, says it all much better than I could:
Universal heath care isn't just humane . . . for those among us who lack a heart think of it this way, it's cost effective!
An $80 tooth extraction might have saved Deamonte's life -- instead, there are now hospital and doctors bills totalling more than $250,000. How many more Deamonte's are out there?
Whether the discussion is about universal health care, or education, or after school programs, or affordable child care the ultimate question seems always to be -- "do we pay now, or pay MUCH MORE later?"