Woman shoots herself to get medical care

Niles, MI - (NBC) - The pain in her right shoulder was unbearable and without health insurance, Kathy Myers was desperate.

The 41-year-old woman shot herself in the same shoulder with a .25-caliber handgun, hoping it could get her the medical help she said she needs.  Instead she is back home, still in pain, and could face criminal charges.

The bullet pierced the front of her shoulder and exited the rear, lodging in an ice pack.

Myers said she didn't feel any pain, just burning.

"It just felt warm," Myers said.  "That's all."

Myers said she hurt her shoulder about a month ago when her 80-pound golden Labrador went after one of her little dogs.  She said tried to stop the dog, which jerked her right shoulder.

"I felt it pop in three places in my collar bone," Myers said.

Doctors gave her an anti-inflammatory, but couldn't do much more she said.

"I didn't have insurance, so I couldn't get a CT-scan or MRI," Myers said.

Myers is among the 1.2 million uninsured people living in Michigan.  State health officials said that is a number that has remained steady for about three years.

She says the pain is so excruciating, she can't sleep and she said she couldn't afford to see a neurologist.

Myers says she lost her job with a hazardous-waste removal company in southern Indiana months ago and said she hasn't qualified for disability or Medicaid.

It was Thursday, she said, when she came up with the idea of shooting herself.

"I figured if I did something that would not necessarily make it life-threatening but make it imminent danger that something would be done," Myers said. "I wanted them to fix me. I just wanted to be fixed."

She hoped the bullet would force doctors to treat what she believes is a rotator cuff injury.  Instead, emergency room doctors at Lakeland Hospital treated only the bullet wound and sent her home.

On Friday, Niles Police said they would talk to prosecutors to determine what, if any, charges to file against Myers.

Now, she's having second thoughts.

"It didn't take the pain away," Myers said. "I figured it would take the pain away from the rotator cuff, where at least I could focus on something else, and maybe they would fix me, you know. I guess I should have shot a little lower and got the bone and the artery."

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