Target: Orie Mullen, president of TRICARE and Humana Military Insurance
Goal: Demand health insurer cover insured child’s urgent and necessary gastric bypass
A twelve-year-old girl in Texas is suffering from a debilitating and rare disease that makes her gain massive amounts of weight even though her body thinks it’s starving. She is on a restricted diet of 900 to 1400 calories – less than half the recommended caloric intake for a child – yet at four-foot-seven she weighs one hundred and ninety-eight pounds and has been hospitalized several times in the last three months. The condition is a result of a benign brain tumor that grows near the pituitary gland. Although the tumor was removed successfully, the damage was done to her hypothalamus, causing her to gain weight and increase her appetite. The girl feels like she is starving constantly.
Doctors say that the girl could go on to gain up to four hundred pounds, a weight that is incredibly dangerous for a child. The only approved way to stop the cycle is for her to get a gastric bypass surgery. But her family, who receives medical insurance through the U.S. Military because her father served in the air force, will not receive any aid from the insurance company because the company has deemed the girl too young for the surgery. Even though doctors and medical professionals insist it is the only option for the girl, the insurance company does not want to pay.
Already in this country, we treat our brave members of the military and their families like second-class citizens, glorifying them when it is convenient and then ignoring all of their actual medical and financial needs. The fact that this former member of the Air Force and his family is being tangled in a web of bureaucratic red tape and legalese is insulting enough, but to allow a child to just get sicker and sicker with no hope of recovery when her doctors insist that her surgery is necessary and urgent and she is fully insured is just inhuman.
Please sign this petition to demand that TRICARE and Humana Military Insurance pay for this little girl’s surgery before it’s too late.
Dear Orie Mullen,
Alexis Shapiro has a debilitating disease of her hypothalamus that causes her to gain weight at a rate that is dangerous to her health. Although she does everything she can to keep the weight down, including limiting her calories to about half of the recommended intake for a child and exercising daily, her weight will increase up to four hundred pounds if she does not receive a necessary gastric bypass surgery.
Alexis’ father, Ian, is insured under TRICARE and Humana Military, and yet your company is refusing to pay for this little girl’s surgery, because you have decided she is too young. Even though her doctors insist this surgery is necessary, you have denied her medical treatment even though she is insured.
This is a matter of life and death for a child, and your company has decided to wait for death. This is a Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare that you have created for this family. Please reverse your decision and provide the coverage for this poor little girl that you have unconscionably denied.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons