A mother’s tearful confession that she can’t afford her son’s insulin despite working full-time has left commenters deriding the American healthcare system.
Katie Schieffer’s ten-year-old son was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and requires insulin every two hours — but the North Carolina mother was left in tears when she couldn’t afford his $1,000 prescription.
‘Gutted’ and ‘fighting mad’ over the video, commenters on social media are complaining that this shouldn’t be a reality for any parent — and isn’t one in most developed countries.
Tragic: A mother’s tearful confession that she can’t afford her son’s insulin despite working full-time has left commenters deriding the American healthcare system
Pricey: Katie Schieffer’s ten-year-old son was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and requires insulin every two hours — but Katie couldn’t afford his $1,000 prescription
She said: ‘I work a full-time job. My husband works a full-time job. I work third shift. I go to school during the day. How you guys making it? Am I the only one struggling?’
Schieffer filmed herself after leaving a pharmacy empty-handed just days before Christmas.
‘I’ve worked for, like, 17 years. I work all the time. I’ve been paying medical bills on my son for nine years, since he was born,’ she said while crying, her face red and her eyes wet with tears.
‘And he was just diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and has to have insulin every two hours.
‘I just got his prescription. It was $1,000. I couldn’t pay for it. I couldn’t pay for it. I now have to go in and tell my nine-year-old son I couldn’t pay for it,’ she went on.
‘I work a full-time job. My husband works a full-time job. I work third shift. I go to school during the day. How you guys making it? Am I the only one struggling?’
Viral : Her video has earned over half a million views on TikTok, 1.6 million on Twitter and tens of thousands more on Reddit
Countless people have offered Schieffer help, donating to her Venmo and Paypal to buy insulin for her son
Her video has earned over half a million views on TikTok, 1.6 million on Twitter and tens of thousands more on Reddit.
Many people have shared their heartbreak for Schieffer, but most are furious that the US healthcare system leaves so many people in this position.
‘The state of healthcare in the US is simply sad. Pharma companies continually tweak their insulin formulas for it to remain patented without actually adding any benefit to it,’ wrote one Redditor.
‘It’s sad that in the so called richest country in the world people are still struggling to get insulin. It’s free in Brazil. IN BRAZIL,’ said another.
‘Insulin is so cheap to make; this is absolutely disgusting,’ wrote one more.
On Twitter, commenters from around the world slammed the US for treating citizens inhumanely by not treating healthcare as a right.
Speaking out: Many people have shared their heartbreak for Schieffer, but most are furious that the US healthcare system leaves so many people in this position
‘Uh, that guts me. I remember that first pharmacy pickup. First time I cried too, and I *could* buy it, though I wondered how we would keep it up. I hope she got some good suggestions and help,’ wrote one.
‘Americas healthcare system is so f**ed,’ wrote another. ‘Yeah the quality might be there, but what is the point if you can’t afford it and die anyway?’
‘As a German this just looks like some third world country, if I didn’t know any better.. absolutely sad and almost terrifying,’ wrote another.
And another: ‘Here in NZ, I pay $5 per script item. On a low income. I can see a psychiatrist no charge. I don’t know how people survive in the US.’
‘This is a problem that only exists in America, we can afford to fix this issue yet we choose not to,’ wrote one more.
‘This is a problem that only exists in America, we can afford to fix this issue yet we choose not to,’ wrote one
‘I’m not even American and the absolute INSANITY that is the medical industry in the USA makes my blood boil…’ yet another commented.
Since the video has gone viral, countless people have offered Schieffer help, and she has shared her Venmo and Paypal user names for those who want to send financial assistance.
Donations appear to have poured in, as she has posted follow-up videos thanking people for their support.
She also shared an update of her smiling son, whose birthday was December 27, as he proudly discussed how well he was doing with treatment.
Josh Wilkerson (right) died after trying to take a cheaper, slower-acting insulin that he rationed in order to save money on his diabetes medication, leaving behind his fiance, Rose Walters (left), who also suffers from type 1 diabetes
For five days, Josh was in a diabetic coma in the hospital near his home in Leesburg, Virginia, for five days in June before his family took him off life support. He was just 27
In June of 2019, Josh Wilkerson died in the midst of a diabetic coma at the age of 27 after the cheaper insulin he switched to months earlier failed him.
Wilkerson had enjoyed sufficient insurance to get high quality insulin until his 26th birthday, when his age got him kicked off his stepfather’s plan.
Like many Americans, Wilkerson simply couldn’t afford to pay between $140 and $1,000 for insulin, the price of which has tripled since 2001.
He had recently gotten engaged to Rose Walters — who also suffers from type 1 diabetes — and the two started taking $25 over-the-counter insulin to save money.
But the older form of insulin didn’t keep Josh’s blood sugar under control. It spiked fatally, and he never woke up from the diabetic coma and multiple strokes.
Jesse James Lutgen, 32, (left) of East Dubuque, Illinois, passed away in 2018 . His mother, Janelle Lutgen, learned after her son had been skipping his necessary treatments for Type 1 Diabetes
In February of 2018, Jesse James Lutgen, 32, of East Dubuque, Illinois, died from from Type 1 Diabetes complications because he had been skipping his necessary treatments.
His mother, Janelle Lutgen, said she found out from another individual close to Jesse that he lost his job and insurance, and as a result, couldn’t afford the supplies he needed.
‘I had heard through the grapevine that he wasn’t able to afford his supplies because he had lost his job and didn’t have any insurance,’ the mother told KWWL.
She was horrified when she visited Jesse’s home earlier this year and found no Humalog or test strips in sight.
‘I went into his home, and I found no Humalog or test strips… which is what he’s supposed to take each time with his meals.’
WHY DO DIABETICS INJECT INSULIN?
Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas, an organ in your body that helps with digestion.
Insulin helps your body use glucose – which comes from sugar in the food and drink you consume – for muscle energy.
Glucose is initially absorbed by the gut from food and passed into the blood, where the body decides what to do with it.
Insulin makes this decision by regulating how much sugar moves from the blood into the blood cells, muscles or fat cells, where it can be used up or stored.
But diabetes can mean the pancreas does not make any insulin, it doesn’t make enough, or the insulin it does make doesn’t work properly.
This can lead to the levels of sugar in the blood becoming dangerously high or low – which can cause fatigue, feeling hungry or thirsty, or in extreme cases life-threatening coma.
To avoid this and stop blood sugar getting too high, diabetics can inject insulin into their body as a medication to bring their blood sugar down.