According to the Herald-Tribune a Palmetto, Florida woman was charged with child neglect after authorities say she did not seek dental treatment for her daughters severe tooth decay.
The mother, Tamika S. White, apparently did take her daughter to see a dentist. The dentist diagnosed White's little girl with baby bottle tooth decay and referred the child to see a specialist for further treatment. Where is the crime you ask? After White was informed that her Medicaid coverage would not pay for the necessary treatment her daughter desperately needed, she refused to seek money for treatment through child-support payments from the child's father or locate a dentist or specialist that would accept her Medicaid coverage. Reports suggest the child suffered from pain associated with the tooth decay for over a year. The age of the child was not disclosed. Tamika S. White was subsequently arrested May 6, 2009 on a felony neglect charge.
I support the fact that the mother of this child is being held responsible for obviously neglecting her daughters teeth. Perhaps she was under the assumption that her daughters baby teeth are not important, considering they will fall out and be replaced with pristine, new adult teeth. Tooth decay is painful regardless of age, but what scares me is the similarity between this story and the story of Deamonte Driver. Untreated tooth decay may lead to more serious infections and, in the case of Deamonte Driver, could result in death. What is the common denominator between the two stories? Apparently it is very difficult to find a dentist that accepts Medicaid.
What are your thoughts?