Vadim Kondratyuk died last week after an infection in his tooth spread to his lungs, according to the GoFundMe page set up by friends and family. The 26-year-old truck driver was on a route to New York when his mouth became swollen and painful enough to stop at a dentist while passing through Oklahoma. After finishing his drop in New York, the pain and swelling returned as he began the drive home. His brother, Miroslav Kondratyuk, became concerned and traveled to help him make the drive home back to California. After noticing Vadim was having trouble breathing, his brother took him to a hospital in Utah where he then was rushed to a larger, more equipped hospital in Salt Lake City due to his condition. After four days in the hospital with strong antibiotics and dialysis, his wife, Nataliya said that the doctors told her the bacteria and infection had spread to his lungs and that he would likely not make it through the night. He died the next morning leaving behind two young daughters and his 22-year-old wife.
It’s a tragic story that has so many people across the country sharing stories of their own unexpected experiences that started with a tooth and quickly turned much more serious. In the comment sections of many news organizations where Kondratyuk’s story has been shared, people are telling their stories, giving each other advice and encouragement and getting much-needed support after losing loved ones in similar circumstances.
The Journal of Endodontics published a study in 2013 that helps illuminate the link between tooth infections and potentially fatal outcomes. The study examined 61,000 patients that were hospitalized for dental abscesses and determined that 66 of those patients died. This shows results as roughly one death for every 1,000 hospitalizations for abscesses during this study which was conducted from 2000-2008.
“Many people are surprised to learn about the strong connection between your oral health and the health of your entire body,” Dr. Ken Collins, DDS, leading Spokane area dentist. “The bloodstream can carry the bacteria from an infection from your mouth to other parts of the body. In extreme cases, it can even spread to the brain and induce a coma. It can spread to the heart and cause bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.”
Kondratyuk’s wife, Nataliya said that he had been diagnosed with diabetes which could turn out to be a factor in the complications he experienced if more information is released about the specifics of what went wrong. Diabetes has well-known, unique challenges medically but it also has specific challenges in regard to the patient’s dental health. Collins says,
“Diabetes affects the body in many ways. Some people are really surprised to hear how much it also affects their mouth and teeth. For instance, diabetes sufferers are more susceptible to infections, including ones in their teeth and mouth. And because of several factors including circulation, they may not feel the pain associated with infections as early as others so it may go unnoticed at first. They also have a harder time fighting off those infections, so they can come on a lot faster and often prove much more difficult to get rid of.”
In just three days, the GoFundMe had already raised almost $250,000 for the young widow and her two children and posted this update:
“On behalf of Nataliya, her daughters and all of Vadim’s family, thank you sincerely for your support during this difficult time! We have been blown away by the love and kindness we have been shown by our friends, family, community and even kind strangers. May God Bless you for your generosity.”
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788