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June 14th, 2010
06:45 AM ET

Woman Shoots Herself to Get Medical Care

From CNN intern Emily Landrieu

Kathy Myers is one of the 1.2 million people living in Michigan without health insurance. After an accident with her dog, Myers withstood a month of intense pain in her right shoulder. Unemployed, uninsured, and unable to afford a doctor to look at her shoulder, she took matters into her own hands.

Late last week, Myers, who’s 41, became desperate and shot herself in the same shoulder. Her idea was that by shooting herself she would be in emergency care and force the doctors to not only fix the gun wound, but her previous shoulder problem as well.

Myers told local Michigan affiliate WSBT that doctors told her “it would have to be life threatening or imminent danger for them to do anything.” In order to make this so, she fired one shot that went through the shoulder, exiting the rear. Soon after, she was in emergency care. The doctors gave her anti–inflammatories and treated the bullet wounds. Without insurance, she was unable to get a CT- scan or MRI and was sent home.

Now, Myers is still in pain and hasn't gotten medical attention for her original shoulder injury.

So we want to know... To what lengths have you gone to get medical attention?
Post your comments here. We’ll read some of them on the air during the 10 o’clock hour of CNN Newsroom with Kyra Phillips.

Filed under: Kyra Phillips
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. HamatoKameko

    Sad what people are driven to because they can't afford insurance. :/

    June 14, 2010 at 6:50 am |
  2. Alex

    Ahhhh...what? If this is an article discussing the lack of a universal healthcare plan in the US you – CNN – are sadly mistaken. The woman is a nutcase...and if there was universal healthcare 1. she probably would STILL be waiting for an appointment with a Dr. 2. government run healthcare would probably not cover the needed help for her injuries.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:17 am |
  3. Freddie P

    I got a job and paid for insurance.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:20 am |
  4. Scott

    Some call it desperation
    Some call it stupidity
    Some may call it criminal

    I guess no matter what its called, I'll be giving more money to the IRS to pay for it.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:23 am |
  5. beth

    this is can a country so rich allow this to happen....shame on you people and the ones who call themself Christians...

    June 14, 2010 at 7:24 am |
  6. dennis

    This is a very sad country that refuses to treat its own people. Now a illegal will get refugee SSI money plus free medical medicare.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:25 am |
  7. ivan ortiz

    It is shameful that people should have to go to these extremes. I have been driven very near the point of self surgery. We may have the technology, but certainly not the humanity.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:26 am |
  8. Southgate Jo

    The really sad part of this story is that it is now common practice to put dollars over humanity. This really tarnishes the image of a doctor or a hospital, being places of mercy. There is no mercy for some people without money.

    We have become a self destructive society and we do it in the name of finance. This is the level the dollar has driven us. As a society in general, we should be ashamed. CNN needs to publish the name of the doctor who didn't treat her. The name of the hospital that refused care. America needs to know these things. Perhaps the light of indignity might force them to do their jobs.

    A totally incredible story, incredibly sad

    June 14, 2010 at 7:26 am |
  9. steve

    I too have no insurance, and have been battling cancer for the last 4 years. I have had nothing but excellent treatment by doctors and hospitals and have not been denied any treatments. I pay what I can and they do not ask for more. All are aware that I will probably die before I can make a major dent in my bills, but continue with quality care and dignity.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:26 am |
  10. ER Resident Physician

    Hearing stories like this is very disconcerting. As a physician, ER care is routinely required by law to be given to patients without insurance. We do it all the time. For extremity injuries, particularly of the shoulder, there is no indication for an MRI or CT scan. Gunshot wounds to an extremity 9x out of 10 do not require a CT scan, or MR, only an X-ray, which she received. Certainly this woman has some kind of mental pathology where she believes that she can demand specialized care when it is unnecessary. Patients like this with no insurance who intentionally harm themselves are the reason your health care is so expensive.

    It is inflammatory articles like this that truly undermine the health care debate. Often times such patients such as the ones described above believe that "fixing the problem" involves not only cleaning and bandaging the wound (which was undoubtedly done in her case) and providing some pain relief& antibiotics, but also prescribing narcotics. These are what are termed in medicine "drug seeking patients" If this isn't done, many patients get belligerent, and try to "increase" the original problem so they do get more attention. in I applaud the physician who didnt perform a CT scan or MRI in her case- he was complying with medical standard of care.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:38 am |
  11. Diana

    It is sad that in a country so powerful and rich our citizens do not have medical insurance, this is shameful. I am a government employee, and I work to cover my family health insurance cost, the money I make goes toward medical bills and premiums. That is the only thing that I cover with my paycheck, if it wasn’t for my husband I couldn’t afford to pay rent, pay my utilities and car insurance and monthly payment.
    Why do people with money don’t want to help the people with no money is something that I can comprehend. I am willing to give my share; I am willing to help people with no insurance.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:41 am |
  12. curad

    I think Kathy Myers has mental problems. But, wow our system has really broke down.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:42 am |
  13. John Gurskey

    Although slightly irrational, this is an example of the lengths people have to go to to get medical attention in the United States. It would have been far cheaper for the tax payers to treat her original medical issue as opposed to a gunshot wound in the emergency room.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  14. Jeff

    Uh... I got a job and got insurance. Crazy, I know.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:55 am |
  15. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Obama care at it's best .

    June 14, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  16. Patricia

    To what length have I gone to get medical attention? First, I went out and got a job. Minimum wage, but I also went out and got an education. Then came a better job. I am health conscious, and careful about my environment (no vicious dogs, or guns loose around the house). Accidents can happen to anyone, but nothing can compensate for personal responsibility. I'll bet there is a lot more to this story than we read in the media.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  17. Dan

    It's not as easy as it seems to get a job, especially in a state that has the highest unemployment rate in the country. I have a job and insurance and still feel everyone should be able to receive health care.

    My best friend lost his job when the recession started as a welder and could not find another one. He ended up getting an ear infection. Not having insurance, he felt he could not go to the doctors. The ear infection turned into meningitis and he died. 28 years old. How sad. Healthcare is a joke in this country.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  18. Medstudent

    PLEASE read ER Resident's comment! It is absolutelt necessary if you want a realistic view of this issue. She or he points out that a CT or MRI would have been unnecessary in both cases- the shoulder pain AND the gunshot, and the patient was given the standard of care – xray and cleaning the gunshot wound/preventing infection! The patient was exoecting and demanding tests, and perhaps treatments, that were not necessary for her original condition OR the condition that she inflicted upon herself. You can't go into a clinic with a face injury and expect/demand the med practitioners to scan your legs- it's a similar situation here. You can't expect doctors to do do something that is irrelevant to your condition. It's a waste of everyone's time and money.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  19. Bluejeans

    This is the silliest thing I've ever heard of.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  20. mona

    my youngest son, 31 yrs. old, was out of work, without health insurance, when he suffered a catastrophic health event, aortic aneurysm. He was taken by ambulance to our local hospital. At the ER, we made his insurance status known. He required heart surgery that took 14 hrs but he did not survive. Not once did the hospital staff try to cut corners or give him substandard care because of his insurance status. he was treated with dignity and compassion. So maybe it all depends on the hospital but my family and I will always be grateful that they tried.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  21. John McCloud

    The woman has no health insurance, but is a smoking. She is out of work and can't afford health insurance, but can afford cigarettes. She has no money, but has pets and can afford dog food.

    See the pattern here?

    June 14, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  22. Rob

    I live in Indiana but my governor passed a plan called healthy indiana plan where I can go to any doctor for free and get all my medications for free...hope the rest of the country gets this soon!

    June 14, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  23. Dane

    I'm a 100% disabled veteran. I don't have to go to any extreme to get health care. I just have to wait 3 months to see a specialist.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  24. Caroline

    I Joined the Military for the HEALTH BENEFITS...!!!!!

    I cannot wait till everyone in the U.S can see a doctor when they need to... Here we are trying to save the World when our own cannot have the priviledge to see a Doc.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  25. Barbra Moran

    I was in need of medical care in 2004. I have worked every year of my life since I was 16 (40 yrs) and paid taxes every year. I was told I could not qualify for healthcare because I am a single white female with no children in the home. The government has no trouble taking my money to pay for these programs. I contacted (then) Senator Barack Obama for help since he was making great changes in IL health care. I am still waiting for help and still have health problems..

    June 14, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  26. Pclony

    ER Resident,

    I think you somewhat miss the point. No she didn't need an MRI or CT scan for the gunshot wound but what was the reasonable care an insured person would get for "intense pain" lasting a month from a shoulder injury? I'm thinking a hard to treat pain would merit a scan, a specialist, physical therapy or chiropractic treatment - and that someone with insurance would have got it.

    Otoh, maybe she didn't use the right resource. Too many people go to the ER for non-emergencies. A clinic would be better IF one was available. But I assume not all localities have them.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  27. Dean Bush

    By the way, like other responsible people do, I got a job and PAY for my own health insurance which also includes disability coverage.

    Miami, FL

    June 14, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  28. Tim

    In July of 2009 I suffered a stroke. The day I was released from the hospital my insurance carrier cancelled my policy. So, no insurance – no medications – no therapy. 8 months later, I suffered a TIA (a mini stroke). Another hospitalization, more bills. I finally got signed up for Medicaid. Medicaid seemed to cover some of the cost of my care but reduced my coverage due to the fact that I earned $8.50 too much per month through unemployment benefits. During the TIA, my right side went into convulsions which resulted in a torn tendon in my right shoulder. We have tried to find an orthopaedic surgeon who accepts Medicaid. Two agreed to look at my case but both rejected me. No reason was given.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  29. Dan

    Obama Care at it's best. So much for universal health care that was just passed.
    Just think. You all (not me) voted for change 2 years ago. Well, it looks like we are still waiting for "change".

    June 14, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  30. Derek Anderson

    I can relate, I’m only 21 and have been living with pain for years, I’ve dislocated my shoulder ten times in the last six years and need an arthroscopy desperately,(my foolish attempts to stay fit and become a high school athlete). I even tried to enlist in the navy, thinking if I made it through basic, I could receive the simple medical procedure, but they asked me to get surgery and apply for a medical wavier. I fear Ill never become self reliant. I’d join the any service for 4 years without pay, if I could have surgery.

    I’m currently trying to get help with Los Angeles Public Health, but I’ve been going in circles.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  31. Mrs. Eileen G. Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    The situation on our Health System I am afraid that will force many to do the same as Kathy Myers. There are too many Americans living without health insurance. The reality is that the same line of thought is used in many hospitals in the United States that it would have to be life threatening or imminent danger for the personnel in a Hospital to do anything. This is the kind of decisions made at Hospitals. The truth is that doctors make quick decisions, send patients home without medications in some cases, and for people with chronic conditions do not get any plan for their care. I would not do the same to get medical attention and I think that it is helpless to share information but the industry has lost their mission. The truth is that patients do not have resources when the state protects private hospital. We are talking about a Health Care Condition not something that does not have meaning.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  32. Abby Smith

    I know how she feels. I was going to a pro-rated health clinic when I was diagnosed with cancer. The clinics are great for basic care but when something serous is found, their service is at an end. The doctor said I needed surgery immediately but with no health insurance, the community hospital would not admit me without half the money down up front. I searched high and low for some help with no success. A state social worker advised me to go out and get pregnant. It was the only way I was going to be able to get help. After over 2 months of searching I was actually considering the social workers suggestion. About that time, the clinic doctor, who had also been searching the whole time, found an agency willing to help. I was finally able to get the surgery I needed to live. I had a recurrence a few years ago which now classifies me as terminal.. I will never know if that 2 1/2 month delay trying to get help is why the cancer had a chance to spread, but I am sure it didn't help. I am not leaving this world soon, with this cancer there is no way to know if I have 6 months left to live or 10 years. It all depends on when it hits a vital organ. I don't have great health care now but I do have some decent health care which will prolong my life.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  33. Karena Andrusyshyn

    In 1987 I discovered my husband had put a bandaid over an ulcerated mole and hidden it. I never found out for how long, but I had noticed the bandaid for 2-3 weeks. I called around and got an appointment with a dermatologist for 16 weeks later. We did not have the $300 up front for the emergency room. I actually told receptionists that I thought it might be melanoma but 16 weeks wait was the best I could do. It was melanoma. Two weeks later we qualified for insurance through his work place and I bought insurance that cost more than we made $256 per week, which covered pre-existing conditions. It only covered him and not our two young children. They operated and I managed, with research to learn the prognosis:2-5 years with care.

    I sold everything I could, and gave away the rest, borrowed money from his brother and moved us to Canada. It was troo late. He died 18 months later in spite of wonderful free care. He was Canadian so we got to stay, and my children and I are still here and still covered by free insurance. I am 65 now and he has been dead 20 years. Consumer Reports inrterviewed us for the 2 month spread on health care in 1990, August and September. People were trying to get health care then. I thought that if we helped, letting them publish our story and a really sad looking photo that we might help and make his death count for something. 20 years later I still cry now and then, like now. Canada gave us two million dollars worth of care for him just to give us some time with a reasonable quality of life and I shall be forever thankful.I am writing books now and if I ever make any money from them, I will not begrudge one dime of income tax.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  34. Bill Bucher

    I have a son with a genetic disorder, his mother illness, the primary disorder, turned up later. The company I worked for, busted my union (I live in South Carolina, a right to work state?) so I lost my health insurance. I started a small business and lied like hell about earnings, excuse me, I strategically determined which earnings went in which pigeon hole. Our laws make small business creative book keeping, an admired art form and not BS, which it truly is a great deal of time. So I was able to put my son on Medicaid, ran the family broke until my now ex-wife got into remission and then went bankrupt. People like me may not do the smartest thing to access or afford health care, but we do what we have to do. Health care is not a right in this country, if you are an American citizen, it is your responsibility to do what you have to do.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  35. Rob

    Do some people not understand that there is no such thing as Obama care and it takes years to put a national health plan into place and this is coming from someone from a Red State

    June 14, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  36. Jody Wright

    Hundreds of thousands of unemployed are waiting with NO MONEY to see what Congress will do. We've been waiting since the beginning of June.

    Why do you not attend to this story?

    June 14, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  37. Jeff

    Get ready to see more stories on like this when healthcare rationing takes effect with Obamacare. Here's an idea for a great healthcare plan, graduate from high school and stay off drugs so you can get a job. Maybe not smelling like an ashtray would help too.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  38. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Look im sorry for being rude but what this lady done was stupid it's more like she is trying to collect disability insurance from the government then get better .

    June 14, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  39. Monica Butler

    Were any medical professsionals interviewed for this story? I ask because a broken collarbone is incredibly painful. My husband had a broken collarbone, and even with excellent health care coverage, he missed over a month of work ( he's an attorney, so he job is sedentary.) Drs. advised he not have surgery and let it heal on its own.
    So I'm not sure this was the best example.. there may not have been much the doctors could do besides potentially addictive pain meds.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  40. Sharon Y. Cobb

    This is a horrifying statement about our country's health care system. First of all, everyone should have the ability to see a doctor and receive needed treatment when needed. Secondly, no one should be forced to injure themselves to receive emergency care. And after going to desperate measures, the poor woman is sent home in pain? That is outrageous. This is America. Freedom for all should include freedom from fear of dying because you cannot afford health insurance.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  41. K Lynn

    Those who have never been there do not have any idea to what lengths a person will go to escape excruciating pain. 6 1/2 years ago, I fell at work and injured my back, but the Workers Compensation insurance company denied I was injured for more than a "bruise/strain." MRIs and Xrays clearly showed a bulging disc and a cracked disc - but the company insisted this was due to a previous condition of degenerative disc disease for which I was being treated. It took a year (and an attorney) to win my case. We had no income during that year and lost our house. Of course I could not work (and still can't) and was prescribed morphine for the constant pain. A year later, I attended a mandatory review exam, and was surprised to find the doctor gave me a 0% rating for my injury; the insurance company immediately dropped me. I discovered that the insurance company had submitted my injury to the examining physician as a "bruise/sprain" - not the actual injury - so he HAD to rate me at 0%. I complained to Workers Comp and was re-examined for the actual injury - and my care was reinstated. But for the time in between, I received no care. The pain was so bad, I took an overdose of sleeping pills trying to escape the pain, and nearly died.

    I now am on disability and receive Medicare. The Workers Comp insurance company has refused to pay for various surgeries doctors have recommended as "unnecessary" and will pay only for pain medication. Even with Medicare, I cannot afford surgery on my own.

    Of course, Medicare does not include dental coverage, so last month I had to use a pair of pliers to pull a bad tooth. Thank God for oragel!

    I worked all my life from my first paper route as a boy, and served in the military during the Viet Nam era for four years. I educated myself at night for work in the computer field, and had a good job as a Senior Web Developer for a major company when I had my accident. I won awards for my work. Now I spend 90% of my time in bed, and in pain. I'm addicted to prescription morphine.

    Yeah, our health care system is just fine as it is, isn't it?

    June 14, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  42. Colleen Meegan

    Someone already beat me to the punch: couldn't hep but notice that arm in the sling could still hold a cigarette! Her health care is going to cost me a whole lot more when she's hospitalized with COPD!

    June 14, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  43. Evelyn

    See the lengths people have to go to, to get medical attention and yet there is so many people still fighting Obama's plight to national health care that is accessible to everyone regardless of income. Open your eyes people, health care should be for everyone, not just those with money to afford it.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  44. Jean Williams

    I am sure there is a free clinic in her area, or she could apply for medical care if she can't afford insurance. Shooting yourself is insane. She needs a mental hospital now, along with her shoulder problem.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  45. ron rawhoof

    if I want health care, I have to pay out of pocket. I'm always afraid of what $ay happen that I can't afford to pay for! Hey government, we are paying our about you start taking care of your constituants!

    June 14, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  46. Ron Crock Jr

    I can relate more than anybody. I had to file bankruptcy, lose my house, belongings & 401k, begged for surgery from several hospitals with a neurosurgeons report in my hand stating "This man needs immediate surgical intervention or face permanent neurological compromise", all for a spinal injury and eventually per my lawyers suggestion, fly to Italy and get 2 surgeries. This was in California.
    It was a work related injury and lawyers were fighting over who pays while I suffered so I was awaiting "authorization for surgery". As a result of the 7 month delay, I am now on permanent disability with permanent nerve damage, but out of a wheelchair thanks only to the Italian government.
    I'm ashamed to be an American, born and raised in Ohio.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  47. Dee

    OH, how harsh! "she can afford cigarettes and dog food"?

    The cost of cigarettes may be getting higher, but it certainly does NOT compare with the cost of getting your own health insurance! Maybe when you are in great pain and cannot gbet help, a cigarette helps a little! (and I am a non-smoker)

    What is wrong with those who begrudge decent health care for others?

    My advice to that guy who thinks this woman is making poor decisions is, you better pray that whoever you work for never figurers out that your job can be done just as well by someone in Asia! Smug guys like that guy need a wakeup call!

    June 14, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  48. Dan Bouge

    People don't want insurance, we want health care. But corporate America will not allow that, their record profits come from the working people of the United States. Stop calling us consumers we are US citizens.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  49. Karena Andrusyshyn

    By the way that 2 mkillion dollars worth would only have cost maybe $30,000 if I had been required to pay. I have never been asked for money and my children were treated in emergency before anyone aksed my for a health care card. Yes our health care is basic and it is rationed upon the basis of immediate need, so elective treatment sometimes has a waiting period. I waited 2 months for tests for carpel tunnel syndrome and my friend, from \Texas, waited 4 months for cataraqct surgery. It is not perfect, but rationing on the basis of money is the most imperfect system around. Besides, the cost of primary care early is only a tiny fraction of the cost of terminal or critical care after a wait, because nobody will trear less than life-threatening conditions. Our taxpayers pay the lower amount and US taxpayers shell out the higher cost for less return. Not only are the costs astronomically higher, but the productivity lost is a hidden enormity.

    June 14, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  50. Betty

    If you go to an ER the hospital is mandated to perform a medical screening that includes Xrays and emergency care. If she requires orthopedic services then she has to follow up on her own. The ER stabilizes her and every patient for follow-up regardless of insurance status. If she does not pay her bill the tax payers do not pay it. The hospital operates at a loss. If she has medicaid then we, the taxpayes, foot the bill... Quite a piece of propaganda you have aired here!

    June 14, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  51. Patty Bonarrigo

    I feel sorry for anyone who can't afford health care. I don't have it either. I have pets that I have to take care off. One cat is 20 years old. Should someone get rid of their pets because they can't afford expensive health care. Of course not. Just because I feel that all people should have affordable health care, I have been called a communist , socialist ,I should move to Cuba and I probably would have voted for Hilter. We pay for all these wars all over the world and that is where allot of our money is going to. Thank you Patty

    June 14, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  52. es

    hi kyra, i have several medical problems myself.....i am stuck between a rock and a hard place....i have needed help for so long.
    if you can help me, please do...i was injured at work jan 08, i am on workers comp., with no pay for almost 2 yrs now....i go to court sept for the wc settlement.....i cant get unemployement due to i am classified as a fulltime employee with no hours due to the mean time i have purchase hundreds of dollars of meds out of pocket every month....i dont buy all i should because i cant. i have insurance but drugs are point of sale, meaning i buy and and then get percentage back, how am i supposed to make it?? no money but need for drugs. i am diebetic, have chf, aniemia, asthma, restless leg, insomnia, nerathapy, now a back and hip injury, high blood pressure...and a few others. i pick and choose what to buy, split pills to make them last longer, its been horrible.....people who dont take meds everyday dont understand the problem ppl like me have, and i dont think pple even care. i feel for everyone having trouble paying for medical atention of all types/ with or without insurance.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  53. Sheri

    I think its sad how health-care is here in United States. But I did notice this lady had tattoos and was smoking . Its so sad to see how peoples priorities are. I too lost my job..I was a very hard worker.I worked 50 to 80 hours a week for 23 yrs..The only time I got 40 hrs was my vacation time. I think the government needs to investigate people job history. The ones that have put there time in and have worked help them but these people that go from job to job and missed every Monday and Friday let them fall on there face...I have noticed the noticed in this countrty the harder worker you are the more you get taxed and screwed by the government and the ones that have lived off the system keep getting pampered.. so unfair...I feel bad for the lady but she has stereotyped herself her and I am tired of supporting these lazy people who invest all there money in beer , tattoos and there smoking habbits..I have wored my rear off and lost my job to and I dont get squat from nobody.. It just unfair! .

    June 14, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  54. Karen in Illinois

    As we listened to CNN just now, it caught my attention regarding the horrendous treatment by hospitals/doctors (who have taken an oath to care for human beings in need of medical care), and it hit a nerve!

    My sister (who was on public assistance at the time), went to a Catholic Hospital emergency room with severe abdominal pain. Lab tests did not confirm appendicitis, so she received the absolutely WRONG treatment for a "possible bowel obstruction" . She endured this painful treatment several times which actually CAUSED her appendix to burst. This minimal and incorrect treatment, in our opinion, was due to the fact that at that particular time she was on public assistance, and it almost killed her! The infection filled her abdomen and she underwent emergency surgery, her abdominal cavity had to be treated with antibiotics as well as intravenious antibiotics, and she almost died. Luckily she improved and was sent home with a drain hanging out of her abdomen. She is lucky to be alive!!! That was several years ago, and as she is my sister, I'm still furious at the Catholic hospital (or ANY hospital) that treats ANY human being going through difficult financial times as less than human. Shame on the medical system in this country

    Thank you for allowing me to share my frustration!

    Karen from Illinois

    June 14, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  55. Brandon

    The problem I see is that we have became a lazy nation. Too many people want it easy and want to take the easy path. The "let the taxpayer pay for me" attitude needs to change. We have really forgot what this great nation was founded on (hard work and dedication). The healthcare policies are not broken (until now with the new health care bill), we just need to help those people that need the help to get back to work. Years ago I remember the statement "tough love" that simply states you need to make hard desicions to let people fall so "they" pick themselves back up. If we keep just giving people what they want and not make them work for it they will never help themselves. This lady needs to hit rock bottom before he realizes that she needs to clean up and find a job. 

    It looks to me that she wanted the attention (and she found it) so she pulled off a dramatic stunt to get it. She knew enough to plan it out and knew right where to shoot herself. Is her mental state strong enough? Was she under the influence? These are a few questions that I would be looking at while at the hospital.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  56. es

    kryra, i forgot to tell you... since my injury, i sold my home, due to loss of income, from injury....i now rent....myt life is totally changed.....i dont think the government is going to be able help people like me by government insurance,,,,,instead, there should be limits on prices charged by phamacuticals and pharmacies, hospitals and drs....and there should be a law every person can see a dr and or hospital with or without insurance....with or without money to pay, and pharmacies should be forced to give meds to people who prove they have no funds to buy, and pharmacuticals pay them back. we give food stamps, we should maybe have medical stamps too.....i only know we need something, fast to help ppl like me.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  57. Michael Burke

    Good morning Kyra,

    I just saw your report on the lady who shot herself in an effort to get medical care. Very unfortunate and a sad commentary on man's inhumanity to his/her fellow man/woman.

    Just because you have health care, which I am certain you are aware, does not mean you have extended coverage for you or your loved ones.

    My situation is that I am employed by a large aerospace company (Boeing) as a Quality Systems Specialist (Six Sigma Master Black Belt) and thought I would be provided perhaps the best medical available coverage for my wife who entered a coma last August 4th.

    She was hospitalized for a month in intensive care and subsequently released to a long term nursing center for the severely brain damaged where she resides to date. My medical care is an HMO which informed me last December that they would and did terminate coverage due to exceeding the limit assigned to this type of care. I have since tried to obtain medicare coverage and have been denied coverage. The nursing center is getting their legal team prepared to take action on past due charges and removal of my wife from the facility. I am facing bankruptcy and probably will have to sell my house to cover these expenses.

    Unlike the one person who responded to the lady who shot herself in order to get medical attention (unsuccessfully) smoking habit and dog as reasons that she should not qualify for medical attention due to financial priority, I do not smoke. I do have a dog which I will take with me should I become homeless.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  58. Carl

    Daddy always said, "Son, ya gotta do what ya gotta do".
    This watered down health care bill is a bonanza for the right wing. We get nothing and they continue to get their kick backs. Anyone figure out that they have to go yet? Shameful that we are the only democracy on the planet that doesnt give health care to its citizens without strings attached.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  59. Carl

    Does anybody realize that Republicans are pursuing the "elimination" of Social Security and Healthcare? They will , however, retain their government health care that you and I pay for out of our taxes. Its not their fault, its ours for being morons and doing nothing about it.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  60. Karen in Illinois

    Addendum to my previous comment regarding my sisters painful emergency room experience (for severe abdominal pain).

    My sisters ordeal lasted for almost 8 PAINFUL hours (before her appendix actually burst) as her grown daughter tried to comfort her mom as she painfully waited in the emergency "waiting room" between the painful procedures for the "possible" bowel impaction/obstruction. This lack of concern for a person in severe pain is incomprehensible on the part of hospital staff and doctors!

    Karen from Illinois

    June 14, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  61. Greg, Ontario

    Here we go with all the "we are the richest", "we are the greatest nation", "we are the blah blah blah" guess what America you aren't and haven't been for some time.
    Hospitals in the US are money factories and nothing else. Your doctors don't give a rats behind about you if you can't pay your bill. You are bankrupt both morally and financially and now your poisoning the planet for all of us with that mess in the Gulf. You are so hung up on racism for all races you tie your own hands with things like medical coverage for all and illegal immigration at your own border. If I was Latino and living in New Mexico or Arizona I would feel glad to show my ID and consider it my little bit to help the problem. But not you guys. You have to turn an effort to protect into a social and racially based attack. Morons.
    You scream and have demonstrations about big government and taxes but can't understand why BP was able to cause such a disaster. BP didn't cause this YOU DID. You demand the gas guzzling cars and trucks and at the same time refuse to let the Oil Companies drill in the shallower waters where problems like this can be handled by divers in hours instead of ROVs taking months.
    Every problem America is suffering today is caused by Americans. Never have any doubt about that. Being a neighbour and someone who actually likes Americans I see it everyday you truely are your own worst enemy.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  62. Dan

    I have great healthcare. I signed up for the US Navy, and 20 years later, I retired. And now I have the best health care I could ask for, and no, it is not a military doctor. I have a civilian doctor.
    It only took me 20 years to EARN. By the way, a lot of people above are complaining about the government not providing.
    Can someone remind me where in the constitution the government is REQUIRED to provide health care for ALL?

    June 14, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  63. T @ Art As Social Inquiry

    I document the health care issue through portraiture. What I am hearing from the people without insurance is that they are dealing with their health care ad hoc or not at all. To judge Ms. Myers because she smokes or received appropriate treatment misses the point. Do only "perfect" people get to live and access the system? How would we measure up to the behavior police in what we eat or drink? More importantly, people cut-off from the system are piecing together what they can and really have no way of knowing if what they are getting is appropriate. An insurance card gets you follow-up care and attention until the problem is solved. When I paint people's portraits I try to walk in their shoes....Yikes, it's a health care mine field out there.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  64. Ivan herritt

    Thank god I live in Canada .... I feel so bad for Americans , in Canada you get free quality health care .... Sad the poor have to resort to such extreems to get medical attention !!

    June 14, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  65. es

    i wish i could understand how so many people can ignore the fact there arre americans hurtting here!! its not about politics, democrat, republican or liberal....not a matter of being lazy or not, willing to work or being lazy.....not about pointing a finger about a person smoking or not.....its simply caring about another persons needs.....when we have a world crisis such as eathquakes or floods man we as a nation can poor out funds to help others but when it comes to our own, who need help because of a medical condition we can not only bash them but have fun doing it and turn it into everything its not......politics it is not.....its way morre simple than that....helping our friendds neighbors family or person a few miles down the road we dont know. what is wrong with us? do we not not care anymore about anyone but number 1???? i hope that the people who have left such notes here to condem people in need, as being lazy etc....never have to see a person they love have the same problem, or worse i hope they themselves never face a serious health problem of thier own, and find how quickly thier life can change. God Bless this country.....thats my prayer each day, i will now add please have mercy on some people who have no idea what they are complaining about and judging others for, having a medical problem.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  66. john doe

    GOOD JOB OAKLAHOMA!!! RECUED the girl and the rescuer's!!! USA is the way!!! ALWAY'S!!!

    June 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  67. phyllis

    i live in alabama, i have a simple question for some of the people who have left ewmails here concerning others without health insurance, have you ever concidered the fact that a health condition can cause a person to not be able to work at all?? i am so dissiapointed in some of theses comments by some of the responses. we should care about our own people in our nation and try yo help them not to condem them and make light of thier problems. we are willing to send millions in disaster relief efferts overseas lets just try to realize we have a need for releif here also. it is not about politics or willingness to work or being available to work or being lazy it is being able to afford healthcafre, and physically able to work also plays a major role. shame on those of us who say we aare american who condem peopkle for not having as much in assets and in health as others.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  68. Nicole Miller

    I signed up for an HMO, paid my premiums, called and made an appointment, waited for my appointment, waited my turn in the waiting room, paid my co pay and got care. Why dif I go through all of this? Because I am a responsible member of society that doesn't think the world owes me everything.

    June 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  69. Carl

    Read the comment herein/above by " Greg, Ontario". He is a friend not a foe. He is right on the mark. Stop waving our flags cause the world is laughing at our ignorance. America wake up and set your priorities to something other than tabloid fiction. We aren't the greatest in anything. We must learn from other countries, implement fast or face extinction. The days of having it our way is over.

    June 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  70. Robert Custer

    This is a comment about the lady who shot herself:
    I am a 47 Yr old man who 5 yrs ago had an accident with a handgun.
    I shot myself in the upper thigh, destroying my femur and my femoral artery. They removed 6 in of my artery from my good leg to graft in place of the one I destroyed. I've dealt with terrible pain ever since. At one time it was so bad I was going to cut my own leg off with a chainsaw. The authorities were notified and I was forced to seek Psychiatric help (physically forced) I have no insurance and they wont see me at any doctors office, they wont approve me for disability so I have been on the fence about just ending my life. The only thing that stops me is my two grandsons, But I'm afraid that one day that wont be enough. I'm begging for help. If you know anyone who can help me there are two little boys who would be very grateful To have their grandfather around for quite a few yrs to come
    Thank You for your time

    June 14, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  71. danny

    my wife has health problems, sheused to work all the time, even worked 99 hrs in a 40 hr work week once, she worked overtime all the time. then she was injured and cant work now. health care is not a matter of earning or wanting to have insurance for everybody. there are good people who want to work and cant because of thier health needs, i am greatly bothered by some of the comments left here today, we point fingers at people who sometimes simply cant do for themselves anymore, or try to blame it on politics. i feel so bad for people who have fallen into the whole that is bound to increase in its size, people who need help due to illness and or injury who cant afford medical attention when they need it. our country population is growing and health needs are growing as well. thanks cnn for bringing this to our attention and for trying to help find answers to our problems. thanks kyra.

    June 14, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  72. Mr. H

    "Southgate Jo"

    If you truly believe there is a crisis of "dollars before humanity," why don't you pay for that woman's surgery? You cannot ignore the unfortunate fact that medical care inexorably carries a financial cost. If you need surgery and have no insurance, get a job and buy some insurance. If your car breaks down and you need to fix your engine, you don't turn to the state or the federal gov't to cover your repair costs. If you wish to have a functioning car, you must find the funds and get it done. The same goes for the human body and your health. If someone doesn't qualify for the gov't assistance programs, then apparently he/she is spending his/her money on other things they deem more important than their surgery/required medical care and it's time to adjust your expenses to accomodate for the need.

    A large problem is the "I'm sick and someone else needs to help me get this fixed." If more people took responsibility for their own health and associated costs, the assistance programs would not be so burdened with bogus claims from persons otherwise capable to acquiring medical insurance on their own.

    At any rate, this woman certainly received medical care in the form of XR, bandages, and likely prescriptions for anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and narcotics for her SELF-INFLICTED injuries, all of which will not be paid by her and will have to be accounted for by increasing everyone else's health insurance premiums (See ER attending physician) or taking annual federal money to help compensate for all of the free medical care that all hospitals/ERs are required to provide.

    This woman clearly has underlying psychological impairment if she felt shooting herself with a firearm was a logical solution to her problems with shoulder pain. I hope she felt it was worth it.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  73. Torn Ligaments

    I am in the same boat and have been for 4 years. I have a work related injury that Workman's Comp does not want to pay for even after their Dr. said I needed surgery ASAP. Well now I can't take the pain anymore so I have been looking on the Internet for self surgeries. I have talked to my Dr. about it and she told me she would help me with numbing the area when I'm ready. I have tried to get help from every agency I could think of. (I won't repeat what Social Security Disability had to say) I have even thought about going to jail but was told that wouldn't work. My pain is so bad that I have cracked my teeth and that's now another issue. So I feel her pain and hope she has no legal complications for just being desperate.

    June 14, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
  74. Derek

    @ Dan, Yeah Dan, I tried enlisting in the Navy, and "earning" my health care. I need $12,000 grand for surgery to go to boot camp.
    I'll serve my country, but can my country repair my shoulder first?

    If lose use of my arm over neglect, heads will roll. I will become a political one armed tyrant. A menace to your status-quo.

    I can almost promise you, the cries of "generation why" will be for revolution, if nothing is done soon.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  75. Torn Ligaments

    Maybe CNN can do a story on " Desperate people and desperate ways"

    June 14, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
  76. Muin

    I don't know what to think of any bureaucracies like Medicare or Social Security program. Doctors cost for Medicare doesn't make sense and overhead costs for SS don't make sense. Doctor's cost is too low and overhead for SS is kinda high. It's hard to fund them. Thats just fact. I heard from my professor in college that the reason SS is broke because Government borrows money during the time of war. I literally took jis word because I don't how to verify. However, I recently met a SS lawyer. She was telling me an interesting story. That three lawyers work in same office. They all give each other raise and promotion but the work remains same. That whole story gave me a different perspective. Maybe it's not the money spend on war that's responsible for deficit but government bureaucracy is equally responsible. However, you really need hard facts to really understand what's truly responsible for deficit.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  77. Jerry Rice

    She induced the gun shot injury. I say bill her for ANY resulting treatment and then prosecute her for attempted fraud.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:30 am |
  78. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Something wrong with her besides a sore shoulder and gunshot wound.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  79. MrsB

    Woman shoots herself in effort to file for state disability!
    Some people hate work so much that they'd do anything to keep from working. So like young girls who get preggers in order to collect welfare, food stamps and free medical, this woman is trying to get out of her fair share of responsibility in her own life. How would she feel on state subsidy, barely able to pay rent and live on food stamps, with her shoulder blown off. Would it be worth it? Nope. And what about the inevitable arthritis that is headed her way? Don't they have free medical clinics in her area? I know we do and taxpayers fund it. There is always a better route to take if you are resourceful enough to connect with people (usually strangers) who can help you with a temporary situation. Get your butt back to school, even if it's just one class. State funding will do that for you, too. Education is the best answer to a secure and fruitful future. Make plans.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  80. Tiffany

    I'm actually suprised that they said they've never seen anyone go to such drastic measures with the way things are. 3 years ago I was in a similar situation! I had no insurance and could not get help.. I was actually in so much pain that it was becoming intolerable and I did not think I could go on (THAT painful...) I could not work most of the time at my own business that I was running, it was VERY hard to find a job with insurance so I could get help. One night I had a knife and was ready to just stab the tendons in my feet myself because THEN the E.R. might have had to do something for my foot problem. (The tendons needing cut was the surgery I needed) Luckily, I found a job, pushed through it somehow and got insurance, got the surgeries but still remember how TERRIBLE that time in my life was and wonder how long I could have gone on with that pain, I know I would not have lasted much longer. Even though I now have a good job in the legal field, I am once again without insurance and it really scares me!

    June 15, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  81. Kim

    In reading this story, I know that are so many more that we aren't aware of and yet the ignorance of our citizenry exists immensely. After, hearing this there are those that would blame Obama for this when his plan has not been enacted yet. There are those that would continuously defend that Universal Healthcare is not needed. I am very disgusted by Jeff and others, you are blessed to be employed and able but because of the strategies of Bush and his Republican Cohorts our country is in a recession and in utter chaos and millions have taken the blunt of his failed Presidency. Yet, you have the audacity to blame Obama, that is backwoods, reversal of truth and absolute ignorance at its best likening to the ideology of the KKK. I am ashamed that in 2010 this BS continues. I pray for this woman and others like this and that a solution will be derived for them and not this continuous BS tea party like rhetoric.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  82. Jason

    I would have just sold the gun to pay for a medical visit.

    Hmmmm interesting concept. Guns for healthcare.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  83. Tess

    I failed a pre-employment physical as I failed the EKG. I borrowed money to get a heart stress test and failed that. I was told I should get a nuclear stress test as soon as possible. It costs $1000. I make $147 a month to much on unemployment to qualify for Medicaid. It seems I'll have to wait for a heart attack to get care.

    June 15, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  84. lgloria

    It is insance to have to go through something like this just to get medical treatment ,it is for this reason i really is will to put my sons collage education on the line and get out of this country .I am from an island yes we have problems like the rest of the world we do not have the best healthcare system unless you pay for quick care .You have to go on a waiting list if it government paid but at least we have free health care we have options .They pay high taxes but you get your moneys worth for you taxes .The problem is here its all about the money and the rich ,people are so selfish they want healthcare but they dont want to pay higher taxes .Get real you have to give in order to get i would have no problem paying more taxes to get health care but since the majority done see it like this i am working my way up out this country
    Everything here is twisted its no wonder the economy is so bad ,no healthcare ,no severence for the lowerclass jobs .You are not allowed to close a bussiness on the islands and walk away leaving people with nothing oh no you will pay these employees for time served .You can just let go employees because bussiness is slow you will pay severence pay .How is the government ever going to get out of this debt when the public sector make they money destroy lives and not held accountable .This all falls on government which means we all pay ..No healthcare means dont get sick and if you do pray you die because if you dont your life will be so screwed up stress will kill you anyway .I totally understand where this woman is coming from thats why i have to get out while i am still healthy .

    June 16, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  85. CoffeeNeeded

    There are plenty of free clinics in Michigan. The lines are horrid and their is a lot of waiting but if she was that desperate, she should have tried a clinic first.

    June 17, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  86. ms. champion

    its sad that you have to go that far for help but its no better with insurence i have a ppo with my job it allows you to get all those but when its all said and done it wount pay for any of it . i had to have a heart cath, done it cost well over 10,000 my ins, only payed 250.00 after taxes and room stay i still owe over 11.000 on the bill . medical care is outrages.

    June 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm |