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On June 12, 2016, 20-year-old Patience Carter was shot in both legs during the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

The Philadelphia-area woman was on vacation with friends when they decided to visit the popular gay nightclub. One of her friends, Akyra Murray, was killed in the attack. The other, Tiara Parker, survived a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Patience Carter is overcome with emotion after speaking to the media from Florida Hospital. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.


Like many of the Pulse shooting survivors, Carter faced a long and painful recovery. Additionally, she faced mounting medical bills.

More than 50 people were wounded during the attack that claimed the lives of 49. Carter was taken to Florida Hospital along with 11 others.

The average medical costs for a gunshot victim come in somewhere around $20,000. As a student, it's not like Carter just happens to have tens of thousands of dollars in disposable income laying around.

I guess some people didn't see this post on my Facebook when I posted it a few days ago, so here it is. Truth As long as God knows the truth, as long as the other survivors know the truth, as long as the surgeons, and nurses who helped save a countless number of lives know the truth, as long as the police officers who risked their lives to save ours know the truth, As long as the majority of the world that sends their love and support knows the truth, As long as the strong members of the LGBT community know the truth, As long as I know the truth... I can find some peace to heal, I can find some peace to learn how to walk again, I can find some peace to want to live on, Laying here in my bed, bullet holes in my legs the size of nickels, As numerous people spin my words, the media can be very insensitive, and fickled I'm a real person, Tiara Parker and Akyra Murray are real people, and this pain is real, We all laid on that cold bathroom floor together, and the people that suffered through the hours with us, know how we feel. #OurPainIsReal #Pray4Orlando

A photo posted by Patience Carter (@patiencecarter) on

In a major act of generosity (and great news), local hospitals have announced that they won't be billing victims of the shooting.

Both Orlando Health health care network and Florida Hospital have indicated that they will not look to Pulse survivors for reimbursement. Even better, this includes follow-up care as well.

Hospital staff listen as Patience Carter speaks to the media. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"Orlando Health has not sent any hospital or medical bills directly to Pulse patients, and we don’t intend to pursue reimbursement of medical costs from them," Orlando Health told ABC News.

Between what Orlando Health can gather in the form of state and federal funding, insurance, charitable donations, and more, the organization hopes to offset some of its own costs — which, over the course of survivors' lifetimes, could go well into multimillions of dollars.

As seen in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, the price of surviving a terrorist attack can be pretty steep.

In 2013, more than 260 people were injured in a bombing attack near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. More than $30 million was donated to funds meant to help victims. Still, for many, it's not enough, resulting in a lifetime of debt not covered by insurance or crowdfunding.

Generosity and kindness are wonderful things. It's just worth remembering that when considering the holes in our current health care system. Without generosity and kindness, people in need can get swallowed up in medical bills through no fault of their own. It's adding insult to literal injury.

Boston Marathon bombing victim Erika Brannock arrives at the sentencing of accused bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev. Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images.

In the case of the survivors of the Pulse shooting and in Carter's case, the medical bill situation has worked out for the best, thanks to the generosity and compassion of two health care organizations.

Even so, we should all keep pushing for a health care system in which we don't have to rely on hospitals or strangers for help.

Health care really is a right. We need to start thinking of it that way.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

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On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn't have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women's rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn't something we'd choose—and we'd hope others wouldn't choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

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