WebXtra: Diabetics risking life and limb

By Courtney Lane - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Risking life and limb East Texas doctors are concerned over a growing number of diabetic patients who simply can't afford their medications.

Endocrinologist Meg Reitmeyer sees patient after patient losing health insurance and prescription coverage in this recession. She says they're now struggling to afford and budget for this critical medication.

Not keeping diabetes under control can lead to more amputations, vision loss, heart disease and kidney problems. Dr. Reitmeyer says skimping on medication is extremely dangerous but unfortunately it's already begun.

"I have patients who are trying to give half doses of insulin or go without eating so they don't have to take as much insulin to make it last longer. The problem is then they end up in the hospital sick because they aren't taking care of it and then they get this huge hospital bill on top of everything else."

A patient we're also visiting with has seen so many people in need, she's trying to set up a fund at her church to help folks pay for medications.

Dr. Reitmeyer says whatever you do, don't be embarrassed. Talk to your doctor if you have financial burdens so they can work with you.

Also ask about switching to generics. Besides that, PATH, Bethesda Clinic, and the Public Health District also offer programs to help those in need.

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