A 24-year-old Cincinnati father died from a tooth infection this week because he couldn’t afford his medication, offering a sobering reminder of the importance of oral health and the number of people without access to dental or health care.
According to NBC affiliate WLWT, Kyle Willis’ wisdom tooth started hurting two weeks ago. When dentists told him it needed to be pulled, he decided to forgo the procedure, because he was unemployed and had no health insurance.
When his face started swelling and his head began to ache, Willis went to the emergency room, where he received prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications. Willis couldn’t afford both, so he chose the pain medications.
The tooth infection spread, causing his brain to swell. He died Tuesday.
Before anyone criticizes this man for choosing pain medication over antibiotics (as I’ve seen some people do), let’s think about two things:
- If you were in severe pain, and probably not thinking clearly, what would you do?
- Why should we live in a society where this is a choice someone must make?
How is this just? Health care is not a luxury, nor should dental care be a luxury. People do not deserve to die because they cannot afford an antibiotic prescription.