The Struggle of Utah’s Working Poor: Medical Maelstrom

The Struggle of Utah’s Working Poor: Medical Maelstrom


DELIGHT. UTAH’S MOST ACCURATE WEATHER FORECAST IS COMING UP. ***EMILY*** WELCOME BACK! MANY UTAHNS ARE LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK — IN FACT … MANY ARE JUST AN ACCIDENT OR AN EMERGENCY ROOM VISIT AWAY FROM TOTAL FINANCIAL RUIN. ABC 4 HAS DECIDED TO HIGHLIGHT THESE STORIES IN A NEW FRANCHISE CALLED “THE STRUGGLE…UTAH’S WORKING POOR”. IN TONIGHT’S SPECIAL REPORT, “MEDICAL MAELSTROM,” ABC 4’S ROSIE NGUYEN INTRODUCES US TO A FAMILY WHO KEEPS FACING SETBACK AFTER SETBACK, DESPITE WORKING TIRELESSLY TO MAKE ENDS MEET. Pump…pump PHYSICAL THERAPY AND DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS … Doctor: “Still pretty high” THIS … HAS BECOME THE NEW NORMAL FOR OGGIE HEWERDINE … Oggie Hewerdine: “I’ve got real bad medical problems, real bad.” HIS WIFE, KAREN … IS BY HIS SIDE 24-7 TO TAKE CARE OF HIM. Karen: “It’s been fun.” BUT LIFE HASN’T ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY FOR THE HEWERDINES … Oggie Hewerdine: (49:49 to 49:51) “We were living on the street.” ***STITCH*** (1:02:47 to 1:02:58) “There’d be days, like three days of time or something like that we didn’t even eat because we never had any money. We couldn’t get any cash.” THEIR STORY OF MEDICAL MAELSTROM BEGAN FOUR YEARS AGO … WHEN OGGIE MOVED TO UTAH TO BE WITH KAREN. THIS WAS ALL WHILE SHE WAS BATTLING HOMELESSNESS AND HER SON WAS FIGHTING TERMINAL CANCER. Linda Savage / Hewerdine Family Friend: “He was in a home care center and with all the medical bills, that’s what led them to be on the street, to be homeless.” AFTER KAREN’S SON PASSED AWAY OGGIE FOUND A JOB WITH THE HELP OF FRIENDS FROM THEIR L-D-S WARD LIKE LINDA AND DON SAVAGE. HE AND HIS WIFE WERE FINALLY OFF THE STREETS. DETERMINED TO SET HIMSELF UP FOR SUCCESS, HE POWERED THROUGH THE DIFFICULT DAYS TO BECOME THE MODEL EMPLOYEE. Don Savage / Hewerdine Family Friend: “He’s a very persistent man and so he didn’t want to show that he was hurting – his hand, his chest, his arms, his head.” BUT NO MATTER HOW HARD HE TRIED HE KEPT FACING SETBACK AFTER SETBACK. Don Savage / Hewerdine Family Friend: “Even major companies that hired him with promises that he would some time be full-time, still only kept him at 20 hours, 30 hours, 35…not enough to qualify for healthcare benefits.” THEN — WHAT THEY FEARED MOST HAPPENED — OGGIE EXPERIENCED A STROKE AT WORK BUT REFRAINED FROM GETTING MEDICAL ATTENTION RIGHT AWAY. Oggie Hewerdine: “Karen tried to take me to the hospital and I said, ‘No. We can’t afford it. We ain’t got the money for the hospital.” WHEN HE FINALLY SAW A DOCTOR HE EXPERIENCED SEVERAL MORE STROKES, CAUSING HIS BODY TO LOSE MOBILITY. Oggie Hewerdine: “I couldn’t work. I have trouble standing and if I stand without my walking cane or wheelchair, I’ve got no balance, my legs… BANG, I’ll just fall straight over.” OGGIE WHO WAS THE BREADWINNER FOR THE FAMILY, HAD TO STEP DOWN AND LET KAREN TAKE OVER.. Oggie Hewerdine: “Karen, she’s been a real sweetheart. Not just as my wife but as a caregiver. She’s the one’s that’s been helping me.” IT WASN’T UNTIL JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO THAT THE HEWERDINES FINALLY GOT A BREAK AND QUALIFIED FOR MEDICAID. Linda Savage / Hewerdine Family Friend: “Karen and Oggie are fighters and just can never give up. Keep fighting. They have a desire to do what is right.” WITH THE FUTURE OF OGGIE’S HEALTH UNKNOWN HE AND KAREN ARE JUST TAKING EACH DAY ONE STEP AT A TIME. Oggie Hewerdine: “We keep each other optimistic. We try to see the funny side of things. There are some things we cannot see the funny side of, but we’ve got to keep a positive attitude.”

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