WaPo reported 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.
This sounds terrible, and is clearly an attempt by WaPo to push for universal medical care, including dental care, but let us look at the rest of the article and see the discrepancies in it.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's death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care. Some poor children have no dental coverage at all. Others travel three hours to find a dentist willing to take Medicaid patients and accept the incumbent paperwork..... About 900 of the state's 5,500 dentists accept Medicaid patients,
If 900 of the state's 5,500 dentists accept Medicaid, then that is almost 20%. If someone has to travel three hours to find a Medicaid dentist, how far do they have to travel to find any dentist? Perhaps they just live way in the boonies without any dentists available.said Arthur Fridley, last year's president of the Maryland State Dental Association. Referring patients to specialists can be particularly difficult..... When Deamonte got sick, his mother had not realized that his tooth had been bothering him.
So even if he had had dental care, she would not have taken him because she did not know it was hurting.Instead, she was focusing on his younger brother, 10-year-old DaShawn, who "complains about his teeth all the time," she said.
Help the child that complains, and ignore the one in pain that is not complaining.... By September, several of DaShawn's teeth had become abscessed. Driver began making calls about the boy's coverage but grew frustrated.... On Oct. 5, DaShawn saw Arthur Fridley, who cleaned the boy's teeth, took an X-ray and referred him to an oral surgeon.
I have had teeth pulled and even root canal work done, but by my normal dentist.But the surgeon could not see him until Nov. 21, and that would be only for a consultation. Driver said she learned that DaShawn would need six teeth extracted and made an appointment for the earliest date available: Jan. 16.
But she had to cancel after learning Jan. 8 that the children had lost their Medicaid coverage a month earlier. She suspects that the paperwork to confirm their eligibility was mailed to the shelter in Adelphi, where they no longer live.
Is it the government's fault that she moved and failed to leave a change of address or notify the government where she now lived?