Grand Rapids woman denied heart transplant for lack of money



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by Rachel Glaser | News Channel 3

A Grand Rapids woman needs a new heart, but the 60-year-old mother was rejected as a transplant candidate because she did not have the money to pay for follow-up care. (Alex Britt / GoFundMe)

A Grand Rapids woman needs a new heart, but the 60-year-old mother was rejected as a transplant candidate because she did not have the money to pay for follow-up care. The rejection letter from the Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Center of Spectrum Health instructed the sick woman to initiate a "fundraising effort" and then request a heart transplant again.

Hedda Martin posted the rejection letter he received from the Grand Rapids clinic for Facebook and has since become viral.

"The committee's decision is that you are not a candidate at this time for a heart transplant due to the need for a safer financial plan for immunosuppressive drug coverage." The committee is recommending a $ 10,000 collection effort, he said. the letter dated November. 20.

Martin's son started a campaign at GoFundMe on Sunday, which raised nearly $ 28,000 on Monday afternoon.

The hospital system refused an interview with Newschannel 3, but sent a written statement.

Spectrum Health acknowledged in the statement that a candidate's ability to pay is a factor in transplant decisions.

"While we do not comment on specific patient situations to protect your privacy, Spectrum Health cares deeply about each patient entering their doors and provides each of them with the highest possible quality of care," Spectrum said in a statement. "Although our primary focus is the patient's medical needs, the fact is that transplants require life-saving drugs and immunosuppression, and therefore costs are sometimes a regrettable and unavoidable factor in the decision-making process."

Martin developed congestive heart failure due to a complication of chemotherapy.

The $ 10,000 required is to cover 20% of the two years of anti-rejection drugs.

"The transplant team does not want to" waste "a vital organ if it can not afford drugs for heart rejection," says Martin GoFundMe. "However, they are not even willing to put you on the list knowing they would still give you time to raise money over a year or more through the family."

Martin and his son did not respond to requests for an interview on Monday.

In a Facebook post Monday morning, Martin wrote that he requested that his case be brought to Spectrum's transplant council again on Tuesday, now that it has raised more than the $ 10,000 needed to pay for post-natal care -transplant.

Full Spectrum Health Statement on the Patient Seeking a Transplant:

"Although we do not comment on specific patient situations to protect your privacy, Spectrum Health cares deeply about each patient entering their doors and provides each of them with the best quality of treatment possible. While it is always disturbing when we can not provide a transplant, we have an obligation to ensure that transplants are successful and donated organs remain viable. We carefully review the candidates for heart and lung transplant procedures with care and compassion, and these are often highly complex and difficult decisions. Although our primary focus is the medical needs of the patient, the fact is that transplants require medications for lifelong care and immunosuppression, and therefore costs are sometimes a regrettable and unavoidable factor in the decision-making process. We partner with our patients throughout their care and work closely with them to identify opportunities for financial assistance. Our clinical staff maintains a constant dialogue with patients about their eligibility, conducting frequent meetings and informing patients in person to ensure that they fully understand their specific situation. "

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