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article imageTooth infection kills uninsured nephew of Bootsy Collins

By Kathleen Blanchard     Sep 4, 2011 in Health
A single unemployed father who died from a tooth infection developed a brain infection because he couldn't afford to purchase antibiotic for treatment. The young man, who was Bootsy Collins' nephew, left behind a 6 yr old daughter.
The 24 year old father, Kyle Willis, needed to have an infected wisdom tooth extracted. Usual treatment until infection in a tooth subsides is to take antibiotic and pain meds. The young man could only afford the pain medication.
Willis subsequently developed a brain infection and died.
The report, which comes from WLWT, Cincinnati, states Willis was out of work and had no health insurance.
Willis didn't have enough money for antibiotic treatment, so he treated just the pain until his headaches became so severe and his face became swollen. He then went to the emergency room for treatment, but by then the infection had ravaged his brain.
What happened highlights the importance of timely medical care. Fortunately, dying from a tooth infection is an uncommon occurrence, but access to dental care can be difficult in some areas.
According to, 40 percent of people in Ohio lack dental insurance. Many dentists don’t accept Medicaid, making it necessary to pay for services.
Larry Hill, the executive director of the CincySmiles Foundation and former director of the Cincinnati Health Department, dental care options in Cincinnati said:
"We simply don't have the horses in this community to address this problem," Hill said. "This was a disaster waiting to happen. And there are still thousands of other disasters waiting to happen."
Treating the tooth infection with antibiotic would have cost $27.00. The pain medication cost $3.00, according to the family.
To help with funeral expenses, the family is seeking donations. Monies will also be put into a college fund for Wilis’ six year old daughter. Donations can be sent to:
Kyle Willis Memorial Fund
604 Ohio Pike
Cincinnati, Ohio 45245-2141 or online at:
Tooth infection and gum disease that claimed Kyle Willis’ life can also have other disastrous consequences that include heart disease, stroke, lung disease, lower birth weight and premature birth.
Patsy Collins, wife of Bootsy Collins says "it's a lesson learned by all". She hopes this never happens to another person.
More about Bootsy Collins, tooth infection, Uninsured
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