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Woman Who Lost Both Arms In Pitbull Attack Arrested For Selling Drugs After Drowning In Medical Debt

Photo: MikeDolta / SophiaTr / Shutterstock / CanvaPro 
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A South Carolina woman never could have imagined that she would be the victim of a savage pitbull attack while simply strolling down the street, but it happened. Since that tragic day, her life has been a roller coaster of health obstacles and financial stressors due to overwhelming medical bills. 

Now, legal troubles have been added to her list of woes after an event that might initially seem shocking but is really just the heartbreaking reality of a broken healthcare model.

The woman was arrested after methamphetamine was found in her purse. 

Seven months after the brutal dog attack, Kyleen Waltman was the passenger in a vehicle pulled over by a South Carolina deputy for a traffic stop. Once the deputy approached them, a fellow passenger in the car with Waltman admitted that he had methamphetamine in his pocket. This prompted the deputy to search the rest of the vehicle, including Waltman’s purse, where they found an additional 8.3 grams of methamphetamine, Abbeville County Captain Matthew Graham told The State. 

After Waltman was informed that she was going to be placed under arrest, she confessed that she had two more bags of methamphetamine in her pockets. “In total, Kyleen Waltman possessed approximately 15.5 grams of methamphetamine, which is considered trafficking weight,” Graham disclosed in a news release. 

Waltman and her fellow passenger, Jeffrey Bond, were charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Waltman was released from jail on bond the following day. 

The driver of the car, who was not identified, was not arrested. 

RELATED: Pit Bull Advocates Criticized For 'Victim Blaming' Family Who Lost Two Children In Dog Attack

Kyleen Waltman lost both her arms and nearly her life in a pitbull attack in March 2022. 

Months before her arrest, the mother of two was walking along a rural road in Honea Path, South Carolina when she was suddenly mauled by three pit bulls. A neighbor was eventually able to scare the dogs off by firing a pistol in the air, but Waltman’s injuries were so severe that her arms had to be amputated at the shoulders, she almost lost her left leg, she suffered multiple infections and underwent over 10 surgeries in just four weeks. 

Waltman’s sister, Amy Wynee organized a GoFundMe page to help cover her medical bills and provide updates on her condition as the family has faced an almost endless road of challenges and medical expenses.

Two months after the attack, Wynee shared that her sister went to get fitted for prosthetic arms, but was denied since she did not have health insurance. She was also repeatedly denied assistance from Medicaid and disability for months afterward. 

“No doctor here in the great state of South Carolina would touch her,” Wynee wrote. “We are at our wit's end and don’t know what else to do.” 

Kyleen Waltman in the hospitalPhoto: Amy Wynee / GoFundMe 

The situation was extremely hard on Waltman, who “cried a lot” according to her sister, and was in constant pain since insurance refused to cover some of her necessary medications (one of them being a cream that cost $500). “It has been one disappointment after the other,” Wynee added. 

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In the midst of the life-altering tragedy, Wynee claims that Waltman began to struggle with her mental health, eventually falling into a depression. 

Not only was she unable to receive help for her physical injuries due to ludicrous insurance policies and piling medical expenses, but she was also unable to undergo the necessary psychiatric treatment following the traumatic ordeal. 

Combine failing mental and physical health with soaring medical bills and it's easy for an outsider to connect the dots when it comes to her crimes — distribution of drugs in an attempt to get out of crippling debt.

After Waltman’s arrest, Wynee informed their GoFundMe supporters that none of their donations had been used toward “illegal activities,” and begged them to have compassion for her struggling sister. “No one knows the mental toll this has taken on her!!” she wrote. “From me and Kyleen and our mother we are very sorry for what this has put you as followers and donators through, but rest assured every penny has been spent accordingly.” 

Many Americans struggle with medical debt. 

Even if Waltman happened to use some of her GoFundMe donations to purchase or traffic drugs, she should not be met with repugnance and judgment. Instead, she deserves our sensitivity and empathy. 

According to Lending Tree, one in four Americans have medical debt that they are struggling to pay off. Four in ten American adults admit they have delayed or refused to undergo necessary medical care due to financial troubles that would only be worsened by seeking medical attention. 

There are those like Waltman who will turn to extreme measures just to manage their health. 

Many of us are lucky enough to have four functioning limbs and financial support. Although we may never truly understand Waltman’s battles, we can agree that the U.S. healthcare system is one that needs major refurbishments so that should Waltman land into trouble again, she will receive the much-needed help she needs as opposed to handcuffs and jail cells. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.