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For Want of a Dentist,Maryland Boy, 12, Dies After Bacteria From Tooth Spread to His Brain

Health & Wellness  (tags: Dental Care, Rotten Teeth, Death )

- 4069 days ago -
WASHINGTON - 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 fin

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Michelle P (262)
Wednesday February 28, 2007, 10:29 am
More people died in the Middle Ages due to tooth related problems than from the Black Plauge.

Good to know that we're heading back the the middle ages. *flaming*

cynthia m (35)
Wednesday February 28, 2007, 11:56 am
Treatment almost always costs more than prevention.

Past Member (0)
Thursday March 1, 2007, 4:27 pm
just terrible and all to a tragic fact even with medicaid dentalis not fully covered. the dentistry in th eunited states for people who are not wealthy i s miserable

TheTimeIsNow Dot Com (127)
Thursday March 1, 2007, 5:45 pm
my thinking is that with use of hydrogen peroxide these infections can be controlled,

We are society with a Medical Industry that does not want us to know preventative medicine


Kim K (314)
Thursday March 1, 2007, 10:56 pm
That is very sad,.To lose a child must be hearthbreaking enough...Knowing that Mr Prez now wants 100 BILLION dollars to fight terror and in our very own country we cannot take care of our own children...I also Pay for dental for my 2 children,..and Thank the stars above no cavities thus far....As a mom and a caretaker,..I swear by tragic..I pray for his family~~Kim K

Past Member (0)
Friday March 2, 2007, 6:47 am
I hope for justice for the Drivers and others like them. This is ridiculous. And I agree with you, Kim, more money to help those who NEED it. If war is to be stopped, spread peace. Fighting fire with fire like doesn't work - look at what has already happened in the Middle East.
It's good to know that there are people who care about social injustice.
* God Bless you and your family, Alyce; May Deamonte Rest in Peace. *

Past Member (0)
Friday March 2, 2007, 8:50 am
what a pack of bullshit. you telling me this "mom" let her kid die for 80 bucks. and now you all try and blame the insurance industry. ?? i bet the " mom" had enough cash to make sure she had beer and smokes. and then you have the real stupid fukks who blame bush. yeah, as if the iraq war is an issue over 80 bucks. makes sense to me.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Friday March 2, 2007, 9:17 am

This is so tragic, it's heartbreaking and infuriating. What is the matter with these dentists who refuse to treat patients who are under the Medicaid program ? Don't people have any social consciousness, any humanity ?

I also noted: "Norris and her staff also ran into barriers: They said they made more than two dozen calls before reaching an official at the Driver family's Medicaid provider and a state supervising nurse who helped them find a dentist." Over 24 phone calls ! What patience you need when you're poor !

From what I read in the article, having or not having the $80 is only part of the problem when dentists refuse to treat Medicaid kids or their families. If they can't find a dentist, they could have all the $80 you want...


Linda D (41)
Friday March 2, 2007, 11:37 am
This is a terrible tragedy that was preventable. It points out how dangerous a dental infection can be. Medicaid dentists are few, and the demand is great, and in this family's case, the paperwork got mixed up and their coverage incorrectly dropped. I think the states should go a step further and suspend the license of any dentist or oral surgeon who refuses to treat someone who needs immediate care. This article illustrates that the health of the teeth and mouth directly affects a person's state of health and can lead to their death. Too many dentists are focused on how much money they can make and have no compassion for the poor or the middle class without the means to pay the inflated price they demand. I would like to see a complete change in government where dental care and health care is concerned. Everyone would have complete coverage and payment would be based on ability to pay with the rest picked up by the state. If we pulled out of Afghanistan, the savings should cover it. Once someone is in a nursing home, forget it as far as cleanings and repair of fillings goes or recementing a crown or having dentures refitted. Infected teeth are ignored. The state will not pay to have them transported to a dentist's office for a dental infection, only to a hospital. AARP had an article about this topic and a woman who ended up in the hospital and huge bill. She survived, but they never pulled the infected tooth. That was so stupid. Dental fees should be set by the state not to exceed a set cap, and service should never be denied. Why is there so much tooth decay and gum infections? I've had more than my share of dental suffering and relate very strongly to this article and think it is a crime that there are so many people going without needed dental care for want to sufficient funds. It's not just health, but aesthetics and self-image, too. Here is a link to a health article that says tea is supposed to reduce cavities. I remember reading that in very poor areas of England, the children did not have good diets, but still had good teeth because of the amount of tea they drank. Maybe drinking tea instead of coffee would help prevent tooth decay. Here is a link on black tea:

Here is a link on gum disease. Q10 is mentioned and drugs that deplete it. I've known two people who reversed their gum disease by taking Q10 and did not need surgery.

Daphne Lynn (0)
Friday March 2, 2007, 3:11 pm
In Britain all children below the age of eighteen are entitled to free dental treatment.

Daphne L

Patricia Lyon (0)
Friday March 2, 2007, 8:40 pm
Bushy fortythree is probably not a parent,and has never had to wrestle with the question of going without groceies in leiu of dental care. The question is not whether to blame George W., but in where our priorities lie as a nation. National health care, which is a right in nearly every civilized country, would be a possibility if we weren't wasting so much money on war. I can't believe that we can't come up with a better solution to war! Trying to raise a family with a low income is very hard, especially with one income. How heartless can you be, Bushy??

Lauren Stone (586)
Saturday March 3, 2007, 12:14 am
Bushy Fortythree; How ignorant and INSULTING can one person be? ("i bet the " mom" had enough cash to make sure she had beer and smokes.")
I saw NOTHING in this article about the Mother smoking or drinking. Why would you say something so callous and outrightly STUPID? Because it happens to be a Black family? ALL children should have access to FREE health care and if BUSH would stop squandering tax payer money on HIS war mongering, this country could easily afford to provide health care for ALL children.
SHAME ON YOU for saying something like that!

Anita H (142)
Saturday March 3, 2007, 7:14 am
I wanted to read the story but it wouldn't pull up . could you post it on this page?

tammymarie h (24)
Saturday March 3, 2007, 10:14 pm
Fortunately, all the dentists in our area take Medicaid for those under 18, and there is also a clinic that is based on income for those without medicaid and other insurance. There was a five year old here who died from the same thing as the boy in this article, but it was b/c his mother just didn't take him to the dentist. She got into lots of trouble. As well, there is a tenant of my mother's who allowed her daughter's teeth, now age 5, to rot, and she would not take her to the dentist. Finally, one night, she had green pus coming out of the front of her mouth (at age 4), and they took her to the ER. The dr. told her to get the child to the dentist. The poor thing had to get teeth cut out at age 4. Let me tell you though, she is so happy with her caps and fillings. She is still showing off her teeth everyone. The dentist sure did get on to her mother. I'm glad everyone in the neighborhood kept pushing her to take the child to the dentist esp since she has medicaid. It's sad when someone has the means to take their children to the dentist and still won't do it when you hear of a situation like this and the parent doesn't have the means. I know that no one should die of a rotten tooth in the USA. Pat Lyon is right to point out that we as people of the USA need to lobby for universal healthcare or less stringent guildlines to qualify for medicaid instead of always blaming the gov't and President Bush or whoever is president at the time. I know someone right now who needs a hysterectomy b/c they've been bleeding for three months with sharp pains, but the dr. will not touch them unless they can come up with half the fee for it, which is 3,000 dollars. So, it's the dr's of all sorts too who won't see people unless they have cash on hand. I feel it is evil for things like this to happen in the USA. I also lived in Canada for over 10 years, and have had surgery there twice, and I felt so confident in my dr and the nurses were topnotch. I was so grateful I didn't need cash upfront to pay a dr. before he'd see me or operate on me, not to mention, never receiving an astronomical hospital bill. My heart goes out to the mother in this article. It's another indication of the evil capitalist healthcare empire in the USA.

Lauren Stone (586)
Sunday March 4, 2007, 9:08 am
Link to related story. I couldn't find the original story.

Sandra Mandy (0)
Sunday March 4, 2007, 10:40 am
This is bad. They should at least give free dental care to children. Sad :-(

Alexandra Gordon (3)
Sunday March 4, 2007, 11:09 am
The article stated, this sounds preposterous or ludicrous, etc...but it is not...
I had an infected tooth two years ago in Denver. I do not have insurance. I spent 6 months working my way through the bureacracy to get into the county dental program. I had 4 appointments over the following six months. Each time I was told the NEXT time they would do the procedure. The third time they told me the extraction had to be done with nitrous which was an additional $200 UP FRONT. My next appt was at 8 am. I arrived early, waited 2 1/2 hours and then when they asked me where my ride was, i told them my mother had gone to park the car. They were doing construction at the hospital so you could not park in the parking garage. They said that b/c my ride was not in the office at that time (she was coming back in about ten minutes), they would not do the procudure. I was then told I would have to pay the full amount b/c even though i qualified for the indigent program, i did not qualify for a discount (I made $7/hour at the time). I moved to New Mexico two weeks later (which i postponed for this dental treatment). I have since lost three more teeth. In NM I was able to have one removed, after one trip to the emergency room b/c the pain was so bad i was screaming myself to sleep, but have not been able to afford further treatment yet. THe indigent care clinic does not do crowns or bridges, etc, which is what i need. There are no dentists who will let you on payment plans here and a payment plan is rather useless if you can't afford the payments of several hundred a month anyway, and my newfound insurance only covers routine cleanings. THis is OUTRAGEOUS, but I wish healthcare professionals and politicians would stop acting so shocked and treating patients with such callousness. This is a tragedy, but most likely not the first or last.

Alexandra Gordon (3)
Sunday March 4, 2007, 2:34 pm
Re: Tea and dental health....
I responded earlier to this....when i could not afford a prescription for penicillin (people say $20 buck is nothing, but if its your gas or food money for the week, yes it is...), a friend suggested placing a bag of black tea against the tooth..somehow it sucks the bitterness of the infection out...may not have worked as well as penicillin, but it relieved the pain enough so i could stand it till i could get the prescription. Most of those old wives tales work:)....

Joe W (3)
Sunday March 4, 2007, 4:28 pm
Our health care system is as sick as our foreign policy. No one should die or suffer due to lack of medical care of any type.

Years ago I had an abcessed tooth and got no treatment for it as I wasn't covered and no one would see me for it. Eventually I saved up enough money to have it pulled but I suffered for over two years with it. I lanced my own abcess month after month to relieve the pain. I took herbal remedies for it and eventually even those don't work. I even tried to pull out my own tooth.

No american citizen should have to come to this and worse when if you are an imprisoned murder or pedophile you get full medical treatment free. Sick, sick sick!!!!!!!!!!

islndbluesgrl CCCC (10)
Sunday March 4, 2007, 5:35 pm
bushy forty three has a sharp tongue and obviously uses it before their brain. I have been one of those mothers that had to choose between food, gas, and medical attention....including dental. I have also suffered from a bad tooth and ended up having an extraction....painful and expensive. However, I have paid for my daughters to have their teeth cleaned regularly therefore neglected myself and ended up with the extraction. My oldest daughter now needs to have 4 wisdom teeth taken out for a whopping 1,600 dollars. There is no preventative for this. Yes, on an earlier comment, preventative is usually cheaper than treatment. My point here isn't to point out bushy's short comings or my own struggles. The point I am trying to make is compassion and resources. Medical and dental "preventative" attention doesn't have to come with a huge price. When I was young, my parents didn't have a lot of money, but the local college that offered dental hygienist degrees would schedule people to have their teeth cleaned for $3.00. It took a lot longer to have it done than in the dentist office, but it was worth it. There was a dental instructor that would check the hygienist's job before letting us leave and she'd receive a some sort of grade or credit towards hours. Also, there is a local doctor here that donates her Wednesday mornings at the health dept. She is the greatest and I have felt so fortunate to discover her services.

Michael Owens (1647)
Sunday March 4, 2007, 6:27 pm
Poor people cant afford to go to the dentist we have to suffer until it has to be extracted now days 80.00 for a tooth is a lot of money when you don't have it.

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 4, 2007, 6:57 pm
Bushy fortythree is probably a parent,and does not smkoe dope or drink, and actually owns a business and worked hard so as not to decide with the question of going without groceies in leiu of dental care. The question is not whether to blame George W., but in where our priorities lie as a nation. National health care, which is a privelege in a few civilized countries, would be a possibility along with free car payments and credit card payments if we weren't wasting so much money on welfare checks for lazy asses who won't work . I can't believe that we can't come up with a better solution to welfare! Trying to raise a family with a low income is very hard, especially when you won't learn anything and get a better job. How generous can you be, Bushy??

Jose Rosa (0)
Sunday March 4, 2007, 11:17 pm
My first reaction was, '' WHERE THE HECK WAS THE MOM HERE ??? '''but she is no dentist any more than I am and had no idea this was so serious, I am so sure. 80 dollars is a lot when you don't have it, and I'm sure they didn't give her the option to make payments on her son's tooth extraction either. It is inexcusable that any child doesn't have immediate access fo dental and health care in this country especially, j u s t i n e x c u s a b l e , whatever the color or background, insurance or not, our kids should have medical and dental insurance - p e r i o d.
More Important, EVERY DAM'ED DENTIST SHOULD BE MANDATED TO TAKE A CERTAIN PER CENT OF MEDICAID PATIENTS IN HIS PRACTICE OR NOT BE ALLOWED TO PRACTICE. We all need to be ashamed that this has happened to this child and that he lost his life for this reason.

Daphne Lynn (0)
Monday March 5, 2007, 4:07 am
It is quite appalling - most of you don't understand. You can only have free or cheap health provision for the poor if you pay more in taxes. A lot of you don't understand that some pepole will always be inadequate and unemployable. Be glad it's not you.

Daphne L

Dorian S (10)
Monday March 5, 2007, 9:38 am
I guarantee that it would cost more than 80 dollars in the long run to take care of an infected tooth....80 withouth insurance is what just a dental appointment without x-rays and procedures...after clearing up the infection, which may or may not have been cleared up with one round of penicillan (it took two years and three different antibiotics to clear my husbands infection, which just keeps coming back because we can't afford the tooth extraction or root canal...). At such a young age, if they had gotten to the point where they could afford to pull the tooth, then it would have been close to 1000 dollars to get ONE implant, which would save the jaw...the jaw adjusts when teeth are missing at younger ages, making it painful, etc.... sooooo I find it hard to believe that 80 bucks is all that it would've cost...there is very rarely "JUST an infection" when it comes to teeth...

tracy a (23)
Monday March 5, 2007, 10:37 pm
this is bigger problem than you know.. their are so many people who cant afford the dentist and who are living day to day . they cant afford even $20 bucks for the dentist.. they want to drop medicaid for children and low income falilys but, they have to go to the emergency rooms for medication.. which cost more! the adverage dentist is $100 for a simple extraction..$200 for a sergical extraction.. people cant afford that ... medicaid dont take adult patients.but that can make frequent trips to the emergency rooms which turns out to be more than $100 bucks.. their is no budget for this ?..but we have a budget for a war?...this is the problem..we need to find a way to take care of OUR people... MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO THIS BOY AND HIS PARENTS!

tracy a (23)
Monday March 5, 2007, 10:48 pm
yes tea bags work for bleeding too. my husband had a tooth pulled and it wouldnt stop bleeding and a on call dentist said to put a tea bag on it.. IT worked.!.. the last time he had to go it cost $50 just for an xray and the dr. gave him meds.. $50 bucks! all he did was an xray and told him it was infected which we knew that already !

tammymarie h (24)
Wednesday March 7, 2007, 8:11 am
This could appear to be a heartless comment I'm going to make, but I don't mean it to seem that way because my heart goes out to any parent who looses a child in any way. I don't think there'd be anything more painful in the world. I'm only going to point something out. I'm not pointing fingers at this mother in particular, and the article should have been more indept. The article states that the boys younger brother also had several rotten teeth. What about parents teaching their children proper dental care. It's much cheaper to buy a tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush and some floss, than to fork out huge amounts of money to fix rotten teeth. I was speaking with a retired dentist after I read this article, and more often than not, he would see children of all races with such rotten teeth because their parents never made them brush and let them eat all sorts of candy, but any food and not brushing is a no no. He was telling me how he'd plead with parents, especially mothers, to make their children brush, even sending them home with toothpaste and brushes and floss. He said that sometimes it worked; other times, the child would be back there with more rotted teeth or either on a return visit to have painful extractions and plenty of fillings. I spoke with the social case worker in charge of the boy who died here, and it is another case of a mother not making her child brush. Being a mother myself, I know how hard it can be to make toddlers start brushing their teeth. Sometimes they'll cry, fight, and won't open their mouths, and it can be very frustrating, and I see why some parents would throw their hands up in the air over the whole thing. At first my son did fight and cry, and it would have been easy to give up. My son has medicaid, and he'll be going on his first dental visit this March. I'm so grateful that I taught him to take care of his teeth. Now I don't have to ask him at bedtime to brush. He tells me he wants to brush. Then he gets fighting mad when I make him put his toothbrush back in the container. I don' t know how his visit to the dentist will go, but I pray he won't have any cavities. Sometimes the prevention of rotted teeth starts right at home. However, I do realize that as an adult, waking up one morning with a swollen jaw and needing a root canal or an extraction is no one's fault, especially if the adult has always taken good care of their teeth. There's nothing much worse than a tooth ache or an ear ache. UGH! I pray that everyone here who needs dental work will get it, even me. Was this woman not a member of somekind of faith based group that could have contributed $80 to help her? Did she ask anyone for $80? The article leaves me with questions such a that. Did no dentist take her seriously because of race? It's always so hard to accept it when a child dies, especially from a rotten tooth. Why wouldn't a dentist agree to do the dental work and wait for Medicaid to pay since it states that she had medicaid, but it was accidentally closed? Was it the dentist himself telling the mother these things or only the receptionist, who makes appointments, never informing the dentist of this mother's request? I was able to get dental assistance in Canada only because of my being part of a First Nations band. However, others in Canada can have a hard time getting dental care, too. Same for eye care. That is the reason I ask, if a dentist didn't take the mother serious b/c of race is b/c I know in Canada, sometimes we, First Nations People, are not taken seriously until we raise a little bit of heck. I pray this mother was able to have a dentist help her younger son. I think I'll continue to pray for this woman alot.
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