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Published:March 3rd, 2007 06:06 EST
Twelve Year Old Dies from Toothache

Twelve Year Old Dies from Toothache

By Krista Belles

Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died in Maryland on Sunday, after bacteria from his tooth spread to his brain. The cost of an extraction to remove the bacteria infected tooth was $80, which his mother could not afford because she was trying to find the money to pay for Driver's younger brother, who had six rotting teeth. The family is not insured and was recently dropped from Medicaid.

By the time that Driver's tooth received any attention, the abscess had already moved from his tooth into his brain. Driver had two brain surgeries and endured more than six weeks of hospital care before his death.

Driver's death has prompted Maryland officials to look more closely at the Medicaid program. Because the family was dropped from the program, Driver's mother was utilizing all her resources to pay for Driver's older brother's dental issues. However, even if the family had not been dropped from Medicaid, chances that the family would have found an oral surgeon to perform the extraction are slim. Only approximately 900 of the state's 5,500 dentists accept Medicaid and very few of those 900 are specialists.