Monday, July 25, 2005


Tommy's Tribulations Part 2

I can't believe it's been four weeks since my last post. Not that I haven't been thinking about the fact that I haven't posted an update to Tommy's situation. It's just that I am an extremely undisciplined blogger. There. I've said it. Now it's time to update the story and move on.

Before I update you on Tommy's situation, I must clarify two major overstatements on my part. The first deals with the family's move to Florida. It was nothing like the picture I inadvertently painted: The family coming home from the hospital and hurriedly tossing clothes into bags on the way to the airport like they were refugees or in some kind of late night relocation exercise for the witness protection program. In fact, it was very orderly move over a period of several weeks. Secondly, if Tommy didn't have this experimental procedure, it wouldn't be the end of the world for him. I wrote with an extreme sense of urgency that, Tommy would die unless he was fast-tracked for this procedure. The reality is found somewhere on the slippery slope of his quality of life. The procedure would greatly improve his chances for experiencing an improved childhood experience.

I didn't mean to create an aura of hysteria or extreme absolutes in my initial post. I was writing with a sense of mission and license to convey the urgency and seriousness of Tommy's condition necessitating the call for prayers of support, strength and spiritual renewal for Tommy, his parents and family.

Mea culpa.

The consultation with the two specialists went great. A major factor weighing in on the consideration for a procedure of this magnitude is the patient's emotional state - their will to survive. Without a healthy spirit, the physical toll is too much of a burden. For a five year old, Tommy's got a will of supernatural elasticity and resilience.

The doctors gave Tommy a green light for doing the experimental bone marrow transplant procedure. Thank you, Lord! When Tommy left Florida, his quality of life index was about 10%. By receiving the bone marrow transplant procedure, his quality of life index can improve to 60%.

The next step is gaining full approval from the Florida Department of Medicaid to pay for the procedure - or at least 80-85% of it. Once Medicaid approves their portion, then the family can start the process to collect the remaining $80,000.00.

Tommy's still a long way from being out of the woods. At least he's received the ok from the doctors who will do the procedure. In fact, they sent their letters to Tommy's specialist in Florida for his application to Medicaid within two weeks of his consultation. If that's not a sign of good faith on their part, then I don't know what is.

In case you're wondering what the Florida Department of Medicaid will be considering when they review Tommy's case - it all comes down to dollars and sense. Without the procedure, the Florida Department of Medicaid will continue to spend about $1, 200,000.00 per year on treatments that won't improve his condition, just maintain his current course of treatment. In fact, as his health deteriorates, his medical costs will escalate.

With the procedure, Tommy's health status and the quality of his life (not too mention his family's) will improve from 10% to 60%. The costs associated with daily medications and weekly treatments will fall off dramatically as well.

Of course, I'm only providing a snapshot of this entire panoramic landscape of medical marvels and managed cash roulette.

The point is, this is a good deal for Florida taxpayers, legislators and the Florida Department of Medicaid bureaucrats - that is, those who say "The system is already overburdened and we can't afford to provide experimental bone marrow transplant procedures for anyone - let alone children.

The first year alone should provide a Return-On-Investment of 3:1.

Even Ebenezer Scrooge wouldn't pass on deal like that.
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Healthcare and the quality of life is not a privilege but a right, especially in a developed country. The US is the only developed country, thus far, that doesn't give its citizens free healthcare but allows people like Monsanto to poison our food supply.

I'm praying for Tommy and his family!
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