Man Loses Eyesight Because He Lacks Insurance

Another person falls victim to a health care system that penalizes those without money.

9 News

Add the story of a San Francisco man to the many accounts of people across the country suffering because they lack health insurance.

Thirty-two-year-old Elisha Harris lost sight in his left eye entirely five months ago. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 12 years old, Harris said he didn't take his condition seriously until he was in college.

A few months ago, when he lost his job because of failing vision, he fell into a deep depression and back into his old habit of skipping the three daily injections of insulin he needs to survive.

The fact that he wasn't able to afford the insulin shots, which cost close to $250 a month, was part of the problem. Not taking his insulin finally caused him to lose his eyesight.

"I was basically not eating a lot, so my blood sugar wouldn't go as high, [or] maybe [I would] go out and run instead of giving myself insulin, because that's another way of sort of controlling it," he told 9 News.

His doctor said if he had waited a few days longer, he would have lost vision in both eyes. Dr. Allen Ho told 9 News, "He came in with significant bleeding and scarring in the eye." Dr. Ho treated Harris after he landed a new job with insurance. Harris now has close to three months' worth of insulin stockpiled.

President Obama may have signed into law the Affordable Health Care Act, but we still hear countless horror stories about the medical system's lack of compassion. While Harris could have prevented a lot of this himself by taking his medication consistently when he was younger, his lack of adequate funds to purchase these medications would still have done him in.

Read more at 9News.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.