A few weeks ago, my incredibly thoughtful aunt contacted me about a baby boy for whose life she has been fighting to save in any way she can. The boy’s name is Houston, and he was born on November 18, 2011 with a condition called Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR).
Within 24 hours of his birth, Houston was life-flighted to Hershey Medical Center for his first open heart surgery. He has endured three surgeries in his short life, in an effort to correct the issue in his veins. However, the treatement Houston needed was beyond what could be given at Hershey. Houston’s potentially life-saving treatment was/is at Children’s Hospital of Boston. However, Houston is on Medicaid through Gateway Health Plan, a company that refused to pay for Houston’s transfer to Boston, or for the treatment. As such, Houston was released to his home last week, for the purpose of spending his potential last days with his family. One doctor is saying that Houston likely has 3 weeks to live. Another doctor says it is very possible Houston could beat the odds and survive this.
The family is still exploring the option of getting Houston to Boston. There is a chance the treatment in Boston could still be done and could save this sweet boy. The Boston hospital may take Houston on as a compassionate case. I do not know more details than that at this point.
What I do know is that Houston’s Medicaid company has done nothing but make Houston’s battle for life more difficult. They have refused to pay for the surgery that could save him. They refused to pay for a medical crib for his home, which he so desperately needed. And now, they are refusing the nursing care he needs. The family and nurses are fighting to get this for him as we speak. If anyone has a moment and would be willing to send a message to the Chief Medical Officer of Gateway Health Plan on Houston’s behalf, please let me know, and I will get you the contact information. I will be sending such an email myself.
Houston also needs prayers. Lots of them. In addition, Houston’s family has been faced with blow after blow in their efforts to take care of this sweet boy. His father has lost his job. He has been in an automobile accident. And they are struggling to get back on their feet. If anyone has any donations of clothes, gift cards, food, or even monetary donations, they are being collected on his behalf, and I will get anyone who asks the contact info for this family. I am sure they would also welcome cards or messages of support. The knowledge of a thought or a prayer can make a world of difference.
If you would like to follow Baby Houston’s story, you can do so via this Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Houston-Schwartz/289588334427909.
Below is the letter I sent to the CMO.
I am emailing you on behalf of Baby Houston Schwartz. I know you are, by now, aware of his situation as my aunt, SK, has contacted you on three separate occasions to plead with you to give this sweet baby boy the help he so desperately needs and deserves.
I understand that many of the things Houston needs in order to maximize his odds of survival have been rejected due to lack of your company’s willingness to pay for them. The transfer to Boston and medical treatment that could have very well been the key to this boy’s survival was rejected. A medical crib that would have given his family easy access to the equipment that he must have was rejected. And now, 24/7 nursing care is being rejected for this sweet little baby boy. I am begging you to reconsider.
I have been informed that Houston is a fighter. He has surprised his doctors and nurses over and over again. One doctor even says there is a chance he will survive this. Should this baby not be equipped with the appropriate medical tools to accompany him into the battle for his life? A battle that he could very well win?
As a parent who knows what it is like to watch her baby take her final breath in her arms, I am begging you to not let this family face the same. Not without giving him every opportunity to live. I understand that regardless of anything that is done to help this baby boy, his life’s purpose may be fulfilled in a short time. However, don’t let this family live out their lives, haunted by the “what ifs” and the “if onlys”. If Houston must leave this world behind him, let it be with the knowledge that everything that could have possibly been done was done. And in that process, it is more than a little bit possible that his life could be saved.
Houston’s life deserves to be considered beyond the parameters of cost/benefit analysis. Houston is a child. He is a son. A grandson. A brother. One that is very loved and wanted.
What if he were your son?”
Edited to add the following:
If anyone would like to send anything (cards, words of encouragement, clothing, gift cards for food, anything!) to Baby Houston’s family, you can do so at the following address:
UPS Store # 644
2536 Eastern Blvd.
York Pa 17402