Unemployed, Uninsured Man Dies from Tooth Infection

Sep 7th, 2011 | By | Category: Case Study

Have you ever imaged a careless toothache could take your life? If you are unemployed and don’t have health care insurance, you are not allowed to have a toothache.

The New York Daily News is reporting that Kyle Willis, a 24-year-old Cincinnati man died from a tooth infection that dramatically spread to his brain cells. Willis, who was unemployed and uninsured, had a toothache and was told that he needed his wisdom teeth pulled. Willis could not afford the medical procedure so he decided to wait it out. He ended up going to the emergency room when his face began to swell. He was informed that he had an awful infection which could spread to his brain cells, so the doctors prescribed a pain reliever and antibiotic. Guess what, he could not even afford the antibiotic so he took the pain reliever instead.

In Taiwan, everyone, no matter you are employed or unemployed, is entitled and insured to health care. You pay more for the health care premium if you are richer and pay less if you are poor and unemployed. Your life should not be in jeopardy just because you lose your job. Losing your job doesn’t mean you have to lose your dignity or even the right to live.

While Willis’ discomfort subsided, the infection continued to spread, causing lethal swelling in his brain resulting in his death. Experts say Willis’ story is not unique. A story like this keeps happening again and again in the United States. Is there any thing we can do to stop this from happening? As of now, the answer is a BIG NO. There is nothing we can do about it.

Many Americans are having to make these kind of decisions that have very real consequences. He lost his life and his 6-year-old daughter lost her father. We know that those against universal healthcare will say that it is his responsibility to handle his care, but what happens when you’ve exhausted all possibilities? What about people who don’t have anyone in their family to ask for help? If everyone in your family is unemployed or underemployed, where can you get help? This is clearly a case of when doing what you have to do goes horribly wrong. How many more stories like this will we have to read about before something is done about chronic unemployment and the uninsured?

Stories like this are just too ironically and it could happen on you some day just because we can’t afford the universal health care like Canada and Taiwan do. Should we just work harder to make sure we keep employed and insured so the┬átragedy won’t happen on us?

Read more at the New York Daily News

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