Single father faces mounting medical bills
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
11/27/12 at 7:54 AM
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Kevin Fields is a single father who has his
hands full with four children living with him.
His job as a welder can pay well, but he
hasn’t been able to work as much lately because
of stage three renal failure.
Now the Army combat veteran’s bills are
piling up and he is having trouble affording
everything his children need.
Fields has an 8-year-old son, twin 5-yearold
daughters and a 5-month-old son. He also
supports two other children, ages 16 and 18,
who live away from home.
It can be difficult to keep up with all of
them, he said, but he has learned to balance
“Women have been doing it for years,” he
said. “It’s not impossible.”
About three months ago, Fields began to
feel sick. He couldn’t keep food down, so he
went to the emergency room. He learned
that his kidneys were failing and he had high
blood pressure. He also suffers from lower
back pain and acid reflux.
He’s had to change his diet to foods low in
fat and with no salt, but he still often feels
light-headed, dizzy and fatigued.
The illness has made working difficult, and
on some days he has to stay home. He can’t
work weekend shifts for extra pay anymore. One week this month, he was able
to work only 20 hours.
“When the buzzer goes off at 5
a.m., you just don’t have the energy,”
Fields doesn’t get paid for days he
“If you don’t go to work in manufacturing,
you don’t get paid, bottom
line,” he said. “You don’t get
Sleep is difficult because he
has to go to the bathroom four to
five times a night and has violent,
jarring dreams, a result of posttraumatic
stress disorder from his
time in the Army.
“They constantly play in your
head when you go to sleep,” he said.
Fields served three combat tours
between 1989 and 1995.
Although he receives some medical
coverage through the Department
of Veterans Affairs, Fields has
frequent co-pays and ended up owing
more than $1,000 for his trip to
the emergency room.
Between that and food and
clothes for his children, he is struggling
to get by financially.
Fields’ children understand
that their father is sick and going
through some difficult times, he
“They’re really good kids,” he
said. “I don’t have to explain a lot.
They don’t ask for a whole lot.”
About the Neediest Families Fund Drive
The Neediest Families Fund Drive
was established in 1928 to provide
assistance to families in need during
the holidays and for the coming year.
This year’s goal is to raise
$300,000 by Christmas Eve. Last
year’s goal was exceeded; $334,888
Each Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday
through the holiday season, the
Tulsa World will spotlight families
chosen by The Salvation Army to
receive help through this year’s fund.
None of the money raised is used
for administrative costs.
Cash is not given directly to the
families. They are given vouchers for
To help families such as the one
featured today, send a check or
money order to the Neediest Families
Fund Drive, in care of the Tulsa
World, P.O. Box 21920, Tulsa, OK
Donations are tax-deductible, and
donors can be anonymous.
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378
Kevin Fields sits with his children, Kaysha (from left), Kiara, Kevin Jr. and Kingston at their Tulsa home. Fields hasn’t been able to work much lately because of illness. Now the combat veteran’s bills are piling up. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Kevin Fields holds his infant son, Kingston, during an interview at their home in Tulsa. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World