Lack of Access Forces People to Seek Health Care from Others - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Lack of Access Forces People to Seek Health Care from Others

Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health at Texas Tech University Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health at Texas Tech University

Elise Preston
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO---There is a concern with a lack of access to health care plaguing the Hispanic community.

Hispanic Americans are the longest living ethnic group in the United States, that's according to a new study released by the federal government.

On average, Hispanics live 2 more years than Whites, and 7 more years than Blacks.

This discovery comes at a time when doctor say, the population is fighting high rates for diabetes and other chronic diseases, and many Hispanics are not going to the doctor.

NewsChannel 10 caught up with some area ladies  who say, in their Mexican American community....many people just can't afford health care....so they do it themselves.

These ladies administer prescription drugs, like Penicillin, or Amoxocilin to their family and neighbors who have fallen ill.

They say, for them, its something, they have been doing since they were children, and they see nothing wrong with helping their community.

"I gave her shots, her creams, her pills.  The doctors there would show me how and then iIwould do it when I came back to the U.S. I would take care of her here." said Maria, a women who asked NewsChannel 10 not to reveal her true identity.

The drugs the ladies are administering are not filled by U.S.  pharmacists.  They tell us, in Mexico, the drugs are cheap and accessible to anyone so they or someone they know, stocks up when they visit the country.

Local doctors tell NewsChannel 10, people can bring a 3-month personal supply of medicine from Mexico into the United States, but administering the drugs to someone else is illegal. Doctors say, the law is not enforced, nor is it recommended.

"Many of our infections, we don't treat first hand with penicillin. So lets say you have an infection, someone has a fever...you vive them penicillin and you wait a few days.  You could cause a more severe infection...and possibly have deadly consequences from that." said Dr. Marjorie Jenkins with the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health at Texas Tech University.

Dr. Jenkins tell NewsChannel 10, Texas Tech is looking at expanding its efforts for providing health care...to help prevent dangerous situations.

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