Uninsured woman struggling to find health care

It's hard enough to deal with a serious illness when you have good health insurance. So imagine being in that situation and being uninsured.

Family members are working to get Sherry Lyn Young the medical care she needs through Louisiana's Charity Hospital System. But they're afraid it may come too late.

Young's brother in law carries her from her bedroom to the living room. The 44 year old was born in Indiana but has been living in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the last seven years. She's come to Ragley to stay with family and seek medical care she cannot get on the island.  "In the Virgin Islands they don't have that kind of care there. They don't have the type of surgeries that I needed or anything," said Young.

Medical records from the Virgin Islands say it was urgent that she be transferred off the island to undergo surgery to address severe vascular disease-- that is to improve blood flow to various areas. "In my feet it feels like somebody's stabbing me, I can't walk. Pain shoots up my legs. I touch them and it feels like I've got needles poking me in my legs,"she says.

And a perforated ulcer earlier this year has taken its toll. She has received emergency evaluation at local hospitals but without health insurance and no way to pay she cannot get the treatment she needs. "I could die for all they know. My surgeon in the Virgin Islands, she told me that it was a matter of life and death."

Family members are trying to get her evaluated and treated in Louisiana's Charity health care system. And have an appointment September 16 in Houma.    But her half sister Sherry and brother-in-law Michael fear she's wasting away. Said Michael Manuel, "We're trying to feed her. She will not hold the food down, she throws up. She cannot walk. We have to carry her physically to the bathroom and everywhere."

Sherry Manuel has tears in eyes.   "She's just day by day melting away. It's heart breaking and I'm scared. We're doing everything we can."

Meanwhile they do their best to care for her and hope that she can get the health care she needs before it's too late. Sherry cries, "She's gonna die if she doesn't get help."

Young's family members are urgently seeking help to get treatment for her sooner rather than later.   We'll be following her case to see how it all turns out.

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