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My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How much is a boy's life worth?

Saw this article today from The Washington Post.  It's an old article -- from 2007 -- but a 12-year-old boy DIED because, essentially, his mother couldn't find a dentist that would take care of his toothache. See his family had lost their Medicaid and, well, even when they had Medicaid, dentists were not easy to find.

Dentists prefer not to take patients with Medicaid.  Even kids.  I'll summarize the article for you:  The boy's tooth got so infected that the infection spread to his brain and...he DIED.  The total cost of the medical care he DID receive (in the ER, in intensive care, in surgery) was over $250K.

Wonder how much a tooth extraction or a filling would have cost?

The article doesn't say, so I did a little sleuthing.  According to this website, a simple extraction should cost between $50-150; an impacted wisdom tooth can cost as much as $650.  Another website has similar data.  Yet another website also gives similar figures.

What about fillings?  According to this website, metal fillings run between $75-145.  Composite fillings (my dentist calls them "hollywoods") are more expensive:  between $150-200 per filling.  Another website on cosmetic dentistry has virtually identical figures; though another website's stats are slightly higher:   $110-200 per each amalgam fillings, versus $135-240 per composite ones. 

This family essentially lost their child for want of no more than $650.

Beyond shameful.

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