Couldn't you clean-up the database through the use of transactions? Just by failing to commit the changes made to the database (e.g. when the test dies) or expressly rolling-back the changes? Of course not all databases support transactions and if you wish to test something which already uses transactions, you are out of luck.
A program should be light and agile, its subroutines connected like a string of pearls. The spirit and intent of the program should be retained throughout. There should be neither too little or too much, neither needless loops nor useless variables, neither lack of structure nor overwhelming rigidity." - The Tao of Programming, 4.1 - Geoffrey James