Melvin Keels has worked for 10 years doing part-time
housekeeping at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore,
where he gets paid $8 an hour. He cleans up, mops the floor, “stuff like
that,” from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, he said.
Keels, 38, said he is a lifelong epileptic who is forced to work
part time because of his condition.
He is on medication that reduces his epileptic seizures to
about three a month.
“If I don’t take the medicine, I have a seizure every
day,” he said.
His seizures leave him “very much in pain. My whole body is
stiff. It’s very, very sore. I have a very terrible headache. My tongue is
chewed up. My memory is not good. I have a short-term memory loss.”
But he said he has never had private health insurance in his life.
He said he gets a disability check of $776 a month
from the government. He gets his
two medications, Tegretol and Depakene, from Medbank, a nonprofit organization
that supplies medications to the uninsured poor. The medications cost about $400
for a month’s supply, Keels said.
He was referred to Medbank by the Epilepsy Association, he said.