Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kyle in Valparaiso, Indiana

Kyle in Valparaiso, Indiana
Originally uploaded by walk4healthcare

Kyle’s story is a bit complicated. He’s a senior in college (at Purdue in Hammond) but he started college a couple years after graduating from high school. Because of this unusual transition, it ended up that he had missed the deadline for getting insurance through his mother’s policy. “I was working to put myself through college with a bunch of part-time jobs. None of them, though, provided insurance … then I got sick—very sick.” He was bedridden for several days with fatigue and fever. He finally went to his family doctor who took a blood test. Two days later, his mother received an urgent call from the doctor saying, demanding almost, that Kyle go to the emergency room immediately. Kyle told me, “it was the highest white blood count he had ever seen,” and he was concerned Kyle had leukemia. So, at the behest of the doctor, and actually feeling better by this time, they went the emergency room. It turned out, thankfully, not to be leukemia, but Kyle ended up with a $9,000 emergency room bill (he was never even admitted to the hospital). “My mother and I spent months fighting and negotiating,” he told me. “Luckily the Church organization affiliated with St. Mary’s finally—yes, finally—helped take care of the bill.” Shaking his head in disbelief at the Kafkaesque ordeal, Kyle concluded, “It was something—and I’m not talking about the illness—I never, ever want to go through again.”

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