This Is All Kinds Of Wrong of the Day: Kyle Willis, a 24-year-old unemployed father of one from Cincinnati, passed away last week from an easily treatable tooth infection because he didn’t have health insurance and couldn’t afford a simple tooth extraction.
Willis began experiencing a wisdom tooth ache two weeks ago, and was told by dentists he would need to have it pulled. He didn’t have insurance to cover the procedure and couldn’t pay for it out of pocket, so he decided to skip treatment altogether.
After his face began to swell, Willis went to the emergency room, where he was prescribed antibiotics, which, again, he couldn’t afford. He decided to stick with pain medicine. The infection eventually spread to his brain causing it to swell.
He died last Tuesday.
American Academy of Family Physicians president-elect Dr. Glenn Stream says that, even if Willis had access to a free dental clinic, “the wait is often months…and this young man died within two weeks of his problem.”
“[Willis] might as well have been living in 1927,” Dr. Jim Jirjis, director of general internal medicine at Vanderbilt University, told ABC News. “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.”