The 24-year-old nephew of musician Bootsy Collins has died at the University Hospital in Cincinnati after a tooth infection spread to his brain.
Kyle Willis, an unemployed single father of a 6-year-old girl, first went to a hospital complaining of a painful toothache two weeks ago. Willis had no health insurance and couldn't afford the $27 antibiotic he was prescribed.
Left untreated, the infection in his tooth apparently spread to his brain. Willis was violent and delirious when an ambulance brought him to the hospital where he died Tuesday.
Bootsy Collins, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is best known for his work with soul superstar James Brown and the '70s funk-soul-rock fusion band Parliament-Funkadelic.
Getting access to dental care is particularly tough for low-income adults and children, and it's getting tougher as the economy worsens.
Trips to the dentist aren't the only expenses hard-up Americans are skipping. Even general health checkups are getting expensive.
There are a number of free dental clinics in operation around the country, where dentists volunteer to provide care to those without health insurance. But even if Willis had access to a free dental clinic, he still may not have been able to get the care he needed for his infection as one needs to wait for months to get an appointment.