A woman in Florida experienced an annoying, yet common problem — she had something in her eye. Katherine Gaydos called for someone to give her eye drops. Either in an act of absent-mindedness or extreme cruelty, someone offered her super glue instead.
Gaydos explained the horrific accident during an interview with WPBF.
“Something blew into my eye. I screamed for someone else to get eye drops out of my purse, and they brought super glue and poured it in my eye…I closed my eye and screamed and called 911.”
The terrified Gaydos found that she’d accidentally glued her eye shut. As much of a nightmare as such an incident would be to the average person, what followed may perhaps be even more scary. Katherine Gaydos went to her doctor for help but found that treatment was discontinued until she could find a way to pay for medical care.
“He was talking about doing surgery to try and save my eye, but now I don’t know what to do — I don’t have a job, no insurance or any money.”
The single mother of two said doctors repeatedly refused to treat her. Even worse, she walked around for a week with her eye glued shut because of an inability to afford proper medical care.
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsBayArea) October 9, 2015
People wrote that it wasn’t until the shocking story made local headlines that her primary doctor contacted Gaydos again. After going to his office on Thursday, the doctor was able to get Katherine’s eye open. She reportedly went back Friday to get dried super glue scraped from her cornea.
Gaydos was clearly elated to have her eye open. Despite temporary vision problems, it looks like the worst is over.
“He said I should get my sight back, and not have permanent damage.”
This story goes much deeper than accidentally gluing one’s eye shut; it is a viral story that demonstrates the problematic nature of the American healthcare system. In short: The “care” has gone out of healthcare.
It’s true that medicine is how persons earn a living, but when someone comes to you with their eye glued shut and you turn them away because they’re broke, it’s time to evaluate why you got into medicine in the first place.
Accidents happen to everyone and anyone, regardless of their income level. It is impossible to predict when you are going to need care, or if you’ll be able to afford that care when you need it most. Although the American Healthcare Act has made great strides in increasing the number of Americans who have health insurance, this woman represents the millions who continue to lack the means of affording treatment. This story also represents the consequences of finding oneself in such a helpless position with no one to turn to.
Katherine Gaydos was extremely lucky. The story of accidentally substituting glue for eye drops and getting her eye glued shut is headline-worthy. The fact that this happened and she spent a week with her eye glued shut makes it very headline-worthy. The reason she remained in this sad state so long is despicable enough to ensure her story would be national news.
Because this woman garnered so much attention, her doctor was either shamed or felt properly ashamed of himself and was moved to help her. Fortunately, treating an eye that’s been glued shut required a bit of “elbow grease,” but not too much in the way of serious surgery.
— Women’s Health (@WomensHealthMag) October 9, 2015
Imagine if this Florida woman had accidentally experienced a more traumatic injury or health problem. Doctors were passing her up over an eye that was glued shut. It’s chilling to think how much worse her situation could have been, and to know Gaydos would have likely been treated just as indifferently.
Some observers have since commented that she should have gone to the nearest emergency room. Lengthy wait aside, it’s likely she would have been seen; hospitals in America can’t turn away someone in need of urgent care by law. However, the fact that it would even come to that for someone who had a family doctor is rather sad.
For the record, the company Super Glue has stated that persons who accidentally get glue in their eye should immediately flush the eye with water. The company actually doesn’t recommend trying to pry the eye open.
[Image Credit: Screen grab from YouTube via Paster John/ABC News]