You can’t handle the tooth

Donald Douglas looks at an easily-avoidable tragedy:

A tooth extraction is not an expensive dental procedure. Indeed, as the ABC News report indicates, “a routine tooth extraction” costs about $80.00. And while it’s a horribly needless waste of life, it’s no one’s fault but the man’s himself, 24-year-old Kyle Willis, the father of a young girl. Willis decided to ride out the pain. When he was overcome by swelling he checked into the emergency room and the doctors gave him prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medication. Willis, apparently because he was “uninsured,” bought the pain killers and blew off the antibiotics. Big mistake. Rudimentary health knowledge says buy the antibiotics and take some (cheap) generic ibuprofen for the pain and inflammation.

Having had “a routine tooth extraction” earlier this year, after which I was prescribed fourteen amoxicillin (about $6) and twenty Lortab (about $6), I’m inclined to think that the motivation here might have had less to do with saving precious coin of the realm than with obtaining an actual opioid without having to go through, um, nonstandard channels. But then I’m cynical about such things.

And besides, “rudimentary health knowledge,” as imparted by too many schools, consists entirely of “Wear a condom,” which would not have helped poor Mr Willis with this particular plight.





3 comments

  1. fillyjonk »

    4 September 2011 · 2:32 pm

    This is why I make such a huge deal of “Don’t wait if you think you have a bacterial infection” thing to my non-majors bio students. I’ve heard of too many ugly things happening to people who thought they could tough out an infection. Though, if, as you speculate, opiates were his real driving force…well, you sometimes can’t fix that sort of thing with education.

    Of course, the real losers here are his kid and his wife.

  2. Roger Green »

    4 September 2011 · 4:11 pm

    Yeah, I’m not ever surprised how uncommon that “common sense” is.

  3. McGehee »

    4 September 2011 · 6:13 pm

    And besides, “rudimentary health knowledge,” as imparted by too many schools, consists entirely of “Wear a condom,” which would not have helped poor Mr Willis with this particular plight.

    It could have, if his father had done it.

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