Friday, September 4, 2009

Queen of Hearts

Jenna Burleigh
Blog 2

A New Heart, Tangled in Red Tape
By Tara Parker-Pope

Health care is ridiculous. First, you’re going to need insurance. Even though you get it, they aren’t going to cover your heart transplant because you’re over 20 years old. So now it just comes down to how much money you have in your pocket. Do you have $150,000 lying around? It’s okay if you don’t, because you can use donated money raised by Tony Hawk and a band member of Nine Inch Nails. But that will only cover the cost of being evaluated and put on a waiting list. For the actual operation, you are going to need about $1 million. After raising all that money, you make it on the donor’s list, but the doctor won’t operate on you until you have “a secondary insurance policy.” By the time you get to a hospital that will take care of you, your body is far too weak to handle the surgery.

Eric De La Cruz was 31 when he died. He didn’t have to. He had a disorder called “severe dilated cardiomyopathy,” which makes the heart weak due to enlarged muscles. Mr. De La Cruz needed a heart transplant and he had known that since his early twenties. But the health insurance system has so many loop-holes and rules that he could not get covered by anyone. Had the system not been so complicated and difficult for someone with a pre-existing condition to obtain, he would have been alive today.

Everyone knows that health insurance is a bit ridiculous, but the real story starts with Eric’s sister, Veronica De La Cruz, who began a crusade to save her brother’s life. She waged a two-front battle: she fought to win disability benefits so that her brother would qualify for Medicare, and she sent out daily “tweets” on Twitter to raise awareness and funds for her brother’s operation.

It’s is so inspiring to see a person fight for someone they care about. Many in this day and age have succumbed to things like greed and selfishness. So many, in fact, that there is probably a bit of both of those in all of us. The De La Cruz family went through a tremendous ordeal and a lot of pain, but their story is reaching lawmakers, Ms. De La Cruz is sure of that.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my brother, let alone fight to save his life. Ms. De La Cruz began her crusade and fought until the end. And she is still fighting. She is an inspiration, the epitome of what it really means to be family. Even though she couldn’t save her brother’s life, she honestly loved him with all her heart.

1 comment:

  1. What a moving and maddening story. Imagine how the sister feels knowing that her brother would still be alive if not for the craziness of our health-care system. You did a good job summarizing the story.