Kucinich: Tooth Wasn't Covered By Insurance, Bills Were The Pits

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Many, many people -- supporters and detractors alike -- were ridiculing Rep. Dennis Kucinich for filing a $150,000 lawsuit against the Congressional cafeteria after biting down on an olive pit in his lunch wrap. I wasn't one of them. (I've had my own experiences with a cascade of physical problems following an ankle sprain.) Turns out Dennis didn't have dental insurance that covered the injury:

In a Friday afternoon email to supporters, which was also posted to his campaign website, Kucinich mocks the media attention paid to his suit this week. The Cleveland congressman writes that he would "prefer to focus your attention on my work dealing with the profoundly importing issues of the nation, such as job creation, getting the economy back on track, and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - it seems that some are more interested in discussing my personal dental issues. Given the degree of public interest you should know some detail."

And detail them he does. Kucinich writes of how the pit caused his tooth to "split in half, vertically through the crown and the tooth, below the level of the bone." But, he adds, although the "pain was excruciating," he went back to work nonetheless. However, the tooth anchored his upper bridgework, forcing the bone above the tooth to become infected. As a result of that infection, he was prescribed antibiotics, but an "adverse reaction to the antibiotics caused him "to have an intestinal obstruction and emergency medical intervention."

After that ordeal, he was informed the tooth had to be removed, and he was fitted for a temporary partial. On second try, an implant was successful, but his bridgework had to be reconfigured, complete with a new partial that affected six teeth and required a new crown as well.

Kucinich blames the "clamor for information" for the sudden wealth of information into his dental ordeal, but says while the case was still being mediated, he declined any interviews. But now, both parties have resolved that matter that "reflects the actual out-of-pocket expenses related to this incident. While the terms of the settlement are confidential, Kucinich says he feels "that the defendants have responded fairly and reasonably."

Kucinich may well have odontophobia after the ordeal, adding, "I don't want to have to make another dental visit for a very long time, and will be making no further comment on this matter."

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