JohnsonNiles resident Kathy Myers may have unintentionally shot herself in the foot when putting a bullet through her shoulder last week.

Archived Story

Katie Johnson: Shooting case a sad spotlight for Niles

Published 10:47pm Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It was the bullet heard around the country – a 41-year-old uninsured woman intentionally shoots herself in an attempt to get medical assistance for a preexisting rotator cuff injury.

Myers not only missed the bone in her shoulder, but medical staff would not treat the prior injury that has caused her so much pain. She may now face criminal charges.

Although this case has been the brunt of many jokes, it has also drawn national attention because it shows the extreme lengths uninsured people may go to for medical attention otherwise unavailable.

Myers’ story is not likely the first shocking case of its kind, but the circumstances drew nationwide media attention after she chose to go public with interviews.

The number of uninsured Americans is hard to determine, but the Congressional Budget Office said earlier this year that the number of Americans without health insurance is expected to grow from 45 million to 54 million in 2019 without changes to federal policy.

I can’t pretend to have the answers to the health care crisis. I don’t know to provide adequate yet affordable health care to millions of people that won’t bury our country further in debt. I do think it’s sad that so many Americans have come to the point where they have major medical problems and can’t receive help when they need it. They’ve been laid off, or can’t get a job, or can’t afford to pay for insurance.

It is my hope there won’t be copycats after the case here in Niles. There are many people in Myers’ situation looking for a way out. Hopefully they won’t feel they have to make a choice like she did.

Katie Johnson is the managing editor of the Niles Daily Star, Cassopolis Vigilant and Edwardsburg Argus. She can be reached at (269) 687-7713 or at katie.johnson@leaderpub .com.

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