A Michigan woman who was rejected for a heart transplant by an area hospital because she couldn't afford the after care has raised more than $30,000 on GoFundMe after her story went viral.
Shortly before Thanksgiving, 60-year-old Hedda Martin received a letter from the Spectrum Health Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Center recommending that she undertake a "fundraising effort" to raise $10,000 needed to pay for the immunosuppressive drugs necessary to ensure that her body accepts the new heart. After Martin shared it on Facebook, a copy of the letter was posted to Twitter, where it was swiftly picked up by Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others.
Insurance groups are recommending GoFundMe as official policy - where customers can die if they can’t raise the goal in time - but sure, single payer healthcare is unreasonable.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 24, 2018
h/t @DanRiffle pic.twitter.com/zetPW0MgDd
Jokes about how GoFundMe is becoming an integral part of our insane health insurance system are no longer funny. pic.twitter.com/47DrOXsc1r— Every billionaire is a policy failure (@DanRiffle) November 24, 2018
According to her GoFundMe page, Martin developed congestive heart failure following aggressive chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer back in 2005. The $10,000 recommended by the hospital would cover 20% of her copays for the treatment.
"The transplant team does not want to 'waste' a vital organ if she cannot afford heart rejection drugs. Understandably," Martin’s son wrote on her GoFundMe page. "However, they are not even willing to put her on the list knowing it would still give her time to raise money over a year or so through family"
In statement to Splinter, the hospital acknowledged that ability to pay is a factor when determining who receives potentially life saving transplants.
"While it is always upsetting when we cannot provide a transplant, we have an obligation to ensure that transplants are successful and that donor organs will remain viable. We thoughtfully review candidates for heart and lung transplant procedures with care and compassion, and these are often highly complex, difficult decisions," the organization said. "While our primary focus is the medical needs of the patient, the fact is that transplants require lifelong care and immunosuppression drugs, and therefore costs are sometimes a regrettable and unavoidable factor in the decision-making process."
Martin's GoFundMe Page had raised over $30,000 as of this evening...