Deadly consequences? East Tenn. family says shutdown is life or death

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — An Anderson County family told WVLT News that the partial government shutdown was becoming a matter of life and death.

Tina Taylor said her husband, a federal employee for the Department of Homeland Security, isn’t getting a paycheck. Their family depends on his income to live, and keep him alive.

“My husband is a homeland security government employee,” said Tina Taylor. “The government is shut down. He is the sole income of this house and he’s not getting paid. I need his insulin.”

Taylor’s husband hasn’t had a paycheck since last month and his medication costs them about $600 a month.

She’s been making phone calls to the drug companies to see if they can do anything for emergency situations.

In one phone conversation recorded by WVLT News, she said:
“So what am I supposed to do about his medication? Let him die because he doesn’t have it?”

“I’m sorry ma’am, but my hands are tied,” said an employee from the medication’s manufacturer.

Taylor’s husband has type 1 diabetes and depends on insulin.

“He ends up using 5 needles a day,” said Taylor. “They’re not covered by insurance. It has to come out of our pocket. He takes NovoLog FlexPen. He takes about 50 to 80 units a day, so he’ll use almost 1 vile a day. The Victoza he uses twice a day. A vile will last him a couple of days. Tresiba, he takes twice a week.”

She said he doesn’t take the medication, it could be dangerous. “He can go into diabetic shock, diabetic coma, and even die.”

Despite all of this, Taylor said her husband was still working without pay. “He has to be there when he’s scheduled to be there,” said Taylor. “The longer it goes the tighter it’s going to be and the bigger concern it’s going to be.”

Their teenage son picked up an extra part time job to help.

“We still have children we have to feed,” said Taylor. “It’s not an option for my husband not to eat, just like it’s not an option for him to not take his medicine.”

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