It's one of those tragic stories that makes one absolutely certain that our healthcare system is broken (if you had any doubt). Middle-class, employed Delbert Davis incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debts, declared bankruptcy and ultimately died because he wasn't able to get insurance or self-pay for a liver transplant. Delbert, who was in the printing business, lost his health insurance in late 2004. Not long after, he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver but told that his liver could regenerate if he took care of himself. Meanwhile, though he worked part-time and his wife full-time, neither was able to get health insurance again. When his liver failed to regenerate, doctors told him that he needed a transplant, but without insurance, the region's transplant centers wouldn't place him on the candidate list. Besides, there was no way the two could have come up with the $120,000 to $500,000 needed to pay for the procedure. With the couple's income barring them from Medicaid coverage and other programs, Davis didn't get the transplant and died only three years after the couple married. While I realize that the hospitals involved needed to make hard, cold financial decisions here, I wonder why nobody other than his wife seems to have fought hard for Delbert. It's a sickening spectacle.
To read the whole story of Delbert Davis' death:
- read this piece in the Austin American Statesman