Man left with $830,000 medical debt after broken tooth led to open-heart surgery
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An Ohio man has opened up about how he was left with a debt of more than $830,000 after a broken tooth paved the way to him having open-heart surgery.
Brandon Baker took to TikTok to share the story of his ordeal which began five years ago, after he arrived at work and suddenly felt as 'sick as [he had] ever felt'.
Baker was initially diagnosed with the flu, but he knew something wasn't right when he went on to lose between 40-50lbs over the next few weeks, all the while struggling with a fever of more than 100 degrees.
Doctors hit him with a series of potential diagnoses over the next few weeks, but it wasn't until he was actually admitted to hospital that he was diagnosed with a 'severe, full-body, near-sceptic blood infection'.
In a comment under his video, Baker confirmed he had bacterial endocarditis, which the Mayo Clinic describes as a 'life-threatening inflammation of the inner lining of the heart's chambers and valves', usually caused by an infection.
The TikTok user was given antibiotics to cope with the infection, but just weeks later had to undergo open-heart surgery to replace the mitral valve in his heart that had been 'destroyed by the infection'.
As Baker began to recover, he learned the cause of all of his issues.
He explained: "About a year before I got sick, I broke a tooth. I didn't have very good dental insurance... so I just lived with the broken tooth for that whole time."
Baker got his tooth fixed as soon as he got a new job, at which time the dentist cleaned the tooth but did not give him any antibiotics.
"Two weeks or so after I had that tooth cleaning, I was at work and it hit me like a truck," he said.
In a follow-up video, Baker added that he knew his broken tooth was the cause because he had to have the tooth pulled before he underwent open heart surgery.
"When they pulled it, it confirmed [that was the cause]," he said.
Baker said the whole ordeal lasted about seven months, during which time he racked up medical bills amounting to $830,000.
TikTok users have been left horrified at hearing how Baker's broken tooth took such a dramatic turn, with many taking to the comments to share their shock at his ordeal.
"As a British person, I am HORRIFIED about that cost! that's a wild story! glad you're okay!," one shocked viewer wrote.
Another added: "Ngl I got up from this and brushed my teeth like I’ve never done before," wrote another.
Looking back now, Baker said that if he could 'change anything', he would have got the tooth pulled straight away.