Kyle Willis, an unemployed, uninsured 24-year old father, died Tuesday of an infection in his wisdom tooth. He couldn’t afford to have the tooth removed, but went to an ER when his face began to swell and the pain grew. He was prescribed an antibiotic and a pain killer. He could only afford to fill one prescription and he chose the pain killer. The infection spread to his brain. A potent reminder that dental care is integral to health and that uninsurance kills.
An expert commented “He [Willis] might as well have been living in 1927. All of the advances we’ve made in medicine today and are proud of, for people who don’t have coverage, you might as well never have developed those.”