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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

COPD - 80% Oxygen - My Mother

03/18/2010

Question:

Hi, My mother has been diagnosed with COPD 3 years ago. She lives in rural Arkansas and has only seen a rural doctor and a county hospital. She has no insurance. The doctor has prescribed oxygen and just in the last couple of days she is having to use it more and more. She refuses to seek professional medical treament due to no insurance. My mother has never had a credit card and does not believe in owing people money. I know she can get medical treament at the county hospital. Do you have any advice. Is there anything the doctors at the county hospital can do to help her? I am so scared that she is ending her life with this disease. Any advice is very much apprecated. They keep giving her steroid shots. Is this only short term help? Thanks You.

Answer:

It sounds like your mother should be getting regular medical care for her COPD.  This would involve check-ups to monitor her oxygen level and symptoms.  Management would include treating with the appropriate medicines (bronchodilators, other inhlaed medicine) and preventing/managing/treating exacerbations of her COPD, which could be life-threatening. 

Has she talked with a social worker at the county hospital?  Have all the possible avenues for medical insurance been explored?

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Response by:

Mahasti   Rittinger, RRT Mahasti Rittinger, RRT
Clinical Program Manager of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University