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No money? No transplant, no cures.

I am shocked.

I had read this on Malcom Morris' blog a few days ago

I still need to go on with the transplant to make sure I don't have a relapse so we're progressing on that front too. About 10 days ago while I was in for a check-up I was told that everything is ready to go as soon as I stick the cash on the table.

Yesterday night I was surfing on Dr. Vance Esler's interesting blog and took some time reading the interesting post "Health Care for All? " where he left a link to a NEJM's editorial.

Suddenly this doubt came in my head: in the USA is it possible to have a patient who needs a transplant, but doesn't have the money to pay for it so he wont get it?
I received kind responses from Dr. Esler - check here if you wish.

By chance, David Arenson is touching the same topic in his blog! He shares with us his tragic discovery of a man (age 39, wife and 3 sons) who put his diffuse lage B-cell lymphoma on eBay because of the desperate financial situation his illness had brought him to.

I want to report a small excerpt from Arenson's post but please take 10 mins of your time to read the whole post here.

I will need a stem cell transplant eventually but here in Arizona there is no way that I can get insurance that will pay for one. Neither would there be a program for me in California. But both New Mexico and Texas would cover me. Fortunately, I am in a position to move. Not everyone is.

Googling I discovered that The National Cancer Institute (US National Institutes of Health) states:

Many health insurance companies cover some of the costs of transplantation for certain types of cancer. [here]

What are the options for a patient who doesn't have the money?

On the web I have also found a company that organizes medical operations in India. They promise to bill 30.000 dollars instead of over 200.000 giving you a 90% discount.

O tempora o mores!


student dr. blaze said...

I wish I could say that this type of scenario was uncommon...or untrue...but one of my first jobs was working in the Transplant Surgery Department at a major medical school, verifying insurance benefits/getting approvals for patients' procedures. Some policies go so far as to list transplantation as "experimental" and thus deny coverage for them. It's insane. The US healthcare system is a disaster, to say the least.... The best summary of the situation I've seen to date is Michael Moore's latest film, Sicko. If you haven't seen it (or the website for the film), I highly recommend it.

The Stem Cell Geek said...

Yes I've seen Sicko: I thought it was over exaggerated but you are telling me that's the raw truth... how sad, I hope with these new US elections the health care policies may change.

Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment!

Malcolm said...

I'm Malcolm - you linked to my blog in your original post. You also left a comment on my blog which I meant to thank you for - but the link on your name went nowhere, and it was only by chance I found you. Whatever - I'd just like to point out for the record that I am in Hong Kong - and my having to pay for the transplant had nothing to do with the US medical system.

And since that post I've been there, done that, and got the transplant! I'm now 6 months post BMT and look to be on the way to a full recovery :)))

malcolm [a t]

SCG (Alberto) said...

Hi Malcolm thanks for passing by and leaving this comment! I am really glad everything is going in the right direction! My real best wishes!