What a freaking outrage. This book puts the “yell” in “yellow.” Deamonte Driver was twelve years old when he died of an abscessed tooth. His brother had a far worse-appearing tooth, and his mother was struggling to find a dentist who accepted their medicaid, and in the interim Deamonte’s tooth quietly worsened, until he became septic and comatose. Deamonte rebounded, but then died unexpectedly shortly after his discharge, all for a decayed tooth that would have cost eighty dollars dollars to repair.
This happened in 2007. What in the actual hell.
I kind of wish Mary Otto had focused entirely on Deamonte’s story, because I found it much more compelling than the beauty queen whose teeth were whitened and gums raised to give her a more alluring smile, or the long middle section on the history of dentistry and why it has been relegated to a tangential branch of medicine when Driver’s case shows that the body is interconnected and no branch can truly be viewed as separate (hi, pediatric ophthalmology tech here, super irritated that we have to explain, no even though this is an eye exam this is a medical diagnosis so it doesn’t go on your vision insurance, but yes your vision insurance will pay for the glasses and no your medical won’t even if it’s for a medical diagnosis and YES I AGREE IT MAKES NO SENSE).
Driver’s story is just so much more compelling than anything else in the book that it overshadows the text. I want a full book about his family (my heart broke when the legal team called all the dentists in the area that took medicaid to try and schedule an appointment posing as a family in Deamonte’s situation, and got something like a 98% failure rate after two calls to each office for an appointment. But more than that, I want there to never be another case like this again.