Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Real Person

Meet Gaby Duffy. She's the smiling face on the left. I met Gaby in the summer of 2004, when she joined our annual week-long family vacation party at Lake LBJ. She came with her best friend (pictured with her above), brought along her ever-present camera, and left a trail of sparkly fun in her path. We introduced her to real barbecue, boat dock fishing, and magnificent sunsets. Gaby saw her last sunset on May 9 of this year. She died in an Ottawa, IL hospital, where she'd taken herself after several days of high fever that she had tried to beat without the doctors she could not afford. Gaby had no health insurance. By the time she got to the Ottawa Regional Hospital and Healthcare Center on May 7, she had already lost the time needed to diagnosis and treat the fever. Tests were run, to no good conclusion...and on Saturday evening, after a good visit with her best friend, Gaby suffered an acute symptomatic seizure, and died. She was 25. Gaby Duffy was a college graduate with a BFA in photography from Columbia College in Chicago. She was scheduled to begin school in September in New York, working toward a PhD in Art History. She was an extraordinary photographer, the oldest of four daughters, a mentor to at-risk teenagers, and the kind of friend who brought life to the party. She just happened to find herself between opportunities for group health insurance. She was one of 45,000 Americans who die every year because they don't have insurance. That's one death every 12 minutes. But Gaby is not a statistic to me. She is a real person. Her death was shocking. It was tragic. It was absolutely unnecessary. Just so you know. Peace.


Anonymous said...

If this country's unnecessarily dead of the last decade could vote the health care debate would be over.

- DC

gay said...

So very sad - I agree with anonymous.