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 Driver, sitting next to his mother, Alyce, shows the scars from incisions for his brain surgery. (By Linda Davidson — The Washington Post)
Anyone who imagines that dental care is an “extra” is kidding themselves. And yet this was how Gov. Romney balanced the budget a few years ago — by taking away poor people’s dental care. We don’t want to let that happen again.
BTW — it was the new health care law that restored dental and eyeglass benefits to Masshealth recipients.