As part of the Huffington Post's efforts to bear witness to the effects of the current economic environment on ordinary Americans, we're rounding up some of the most compelling stories reported by local news organizations around the country.
Monique Zimmerman-Stein has been nearly blind for the last two years from Stickler syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. She recently decided to forego her own treatment to save funds to treat her two daughters, who also suffer from the condition, reports Lane DeGregory of the St. Petersburg Times.
The family is covered under husband Gary's Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan, but that coverage only pays for 80 percent of medical expenses.
She will no longer get treatment to preserve that last slice of light. The injections that might help cost $380 after insurance, and she needs one every six weeks. She could be spending that money on her daughters' care.
If forgoing treatment might help them see, she said, "That's a choice any mom would make."
The expensive care has already forced the family out of their home, which was foreclosed, and forced them to sell their furniture and to cash in their life insurance.
Tampabay.com put together an excellent video to accompany the story:
A family fallen on hard times after their 12-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a brainstem tumor has been served foreclosure papers, reports Elizabeth Prann of local NBC affiliate WJHG.
Amber Howard underwent surgery that could only remove part of the tumor. Her father, Neil, is the only member of the family who is able to work. Amber's weak immune system requires home-schooling. But the Howards don't let the situation keep them down.
The Howard family is fascinatingly optimistic, each one picking up the other when he or she is down.
"When she has a good day, that's when we charge our batteries!"
And if it's one thing none of them is lost is hope.
Amber is living proof.
"She said to me, God came to me mom. He told me, it's not my time. But I said, you can't remember Amber, you were asleep. She said no Mom, I remember! He came over, God came over and he talked to me, he said everything would be OK, it's just not my time," Shawn said.
Kenneth Hoagland, of Nashville, Tenn., was put in jail for getting a cold, reports Janell Ross of the Tennessean. Hoagland, previously bankrupted by a week-long stay in a hospital for his diabetes, was on a health insurance waiting period for a new job when what started as a cold landed him in a hospital for two days with a $1,200 tab. He could not pay, was afraid to miss work to show up in court, and was arrested on what's known as a "body attachment."
"They fingerprinted me, took my picture and asked some questions about my medical history," he said. "When the guy who tested (my blood sugar) asked me why I was there and I told him ... he said, 'I didn't know we did that in this country.' I told him, 'Until now, I didn't either.' "
The Tennessean reports that "Hoagland, 36, is one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans -- insured and uninsured -- facing collection suits, wage garnishments and, more rarely, trips to jail because of medical debt."
HuffPost readers: Seen a good local story? Heard about a heroic judge, neighbor, or doctor helping people stay in their homes? Tell us about it! Email email@example.com.
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more