Wednesday , May 22 2024

What One Man’s Brush With Death Reveals About Access To Health Care

About five years ago, Jesus Gomez spent a month in the hospital. As he pulls out his phone to show me photos, he stops and smiles. “They’ll scare you,” he jokes. Gomez scrolls through pictures of his head and torso covered in red splotches and thick brown scabs. “If they hadn’t treated me, I would’ve died,” he says in Spanish. “I would’ve been dead five years.” His symptoms began small in 2013. “It started with an itch, and when I would scratch, it would break the skin and it would start to peel,” he says. Then came blisters. He tried to wait it out. The Mexican restaurant where he worked six days a week didn’t provide insurance, and didn’t allow him sick time. But he knew he needed to see a doctor when blisters had broken out on his chest and back. He paid out of pocket to see a general practitioner. “They did a biopsy and told me it was an allergy,” he says. But the allergy medication he was prescribed didn’t work. Neither did another doctor’s treatment for psoriasis. The disease

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