Why Do We Always React Only after a Tragedy? Deamonte's Death Following a Toothache Was the Consequence of Poverty and a System That Did Not Fulfill Its Obligations. in This Instance, It Was Largely a Question of Poverty. Would It Be Any Different If It Was Primarily a Question of a Child with Special Health Care Needs?

By Waldman, Barry H.; Perlman, Steven P. | The Exceptional Parent, February 2012 | Go to article overview

Why Do We Always React Only after a Tragedy? Deamonte's Death Following a Toothache Was the Consequence of Poverty and a System That Did Not Fulfill Its Obligations. in This Instance, It Was Largely a Question of Poverty. Would It Be Any Different If It Was Primarily a Question of a Child with Special Health Care Needs?


Waldman, Barry H., Perlman, Steven P., The Exceptional Parent


In February 2007, "12-year-old Deamonte Drive died of a toothache" (1) --actually he died because his family was too poor to afford the cost of a tooth extraction (estimated to be about $80) which would have prevented the spread of an abscess to his brain. His family had temporarily lost its Medicaid coverage and a dentist could not be found to provide the needed care. He had ADHD and was a somewhat difficult patient. The irony is that the ultimate cost of his care prior to his death was more than a quarter of a million dollars.

SOME BACKGROUND

The three Driver children had never received routine dental care. When Deamonte took ill, his mother did not realize that his tooth had been bothering him. Instead she was concerned about his younger brother who "complained about his teeth all the time." When finally the mother sought help for the younger brother, the earliest that an appointment could be made with an oral surgeon was three months away. About 900 of 5,500 Maryland dentists accepted Medicaid patents. "Referring patients to specialists can be particularly difficult." (1) However, as a result of "paper-work" mix up, all the children lost their Medicaid coverage.

Eventually, Deamonte had a severe headache and was rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery for a brain abscess. (The tooth was extracted, finally.) But it was too late. Two weeks later, Deamonte died. His death certificate listed two conditions for the cause of death, both associated with a brain abscess: "meningoencephalitis" (an infection or inflammation of the membranes which cover the brain, and the brain itself) and "subdural empyema" (collection of pus within a naturally existing anatomical cavity)." The bill for just the hospital two week period was expected to be between $200,000 and $250,000.

MEDICAID

"In spite of efforts to change the system, fewer than one in three children in Maryland's Medicaid program received any dental services at all in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services." (1) Fewer than 16% of Maryland's Medicaid children received restorative services, such as fillings in 2005. The figures were worse for Medicaid dental services in the District of Columbia, 29% received treatment and in Virginia, 24% were treated. (1)

The Medicaid dental program was established to ensure that needed dental services were obtainable for poor children and adults. While dental services are required for children under the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) Medicaid program, dentistry is an elective service for adults. The availability of dental services under this joint federal-state financed program, together with the State Children's Health Insurance program (SCHIP) (which covers additional low-income children who do not qualify for Medicaid) is a major determinant in the receipt of services for those living in or near levels of poverty and individuals with special health care needs.

Despite practitioner justification of inadequate finances, tortuous administrative arrangements and paperwork, as well as missed patients appointments, the media continually emphasizes the unwillingness of dentists to provide care to Medicaid patients with the result that " ... fewer than one-third of children covered by Medicaid received any dental treatment at all." (1)

REACTIONS AFTER THE TRAGEDY

After the national news media picked up the story there were the expected finger pointing and government committee hearings to determine how such a tragedy could occur. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Why Do We Always React Only after a Tragedy? Deamonte's Death Following a Toothache Was the Consequence of Poverty and a System That Did Not Fulfill Its Obligations. in This Instance, It Was Largely a Question of Poverty. Would It Be Any Different If It Was Primarily a Question of a Child with Special Health Care Needs?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.