Home / Others / The desperate Michigan woman who used GoFundMe to help pay for a heart transplant is far from alone.

The desperate Michigan woman who used GoFundMe to help pay for a heart transplant is far from alone.

The story of a Michigan woman forced to massively fund her heart transplant medication is causing outrage, but her situation is far more common than people can imagine.

GoFundMe donors have already pledged more than $ 28,000 for Hedda Martin until Monday night, days after a Spectrum Health heart transplant committee rejected the 60-year-old woman's transplant request because she needed a "plan." more secure financial "to pay his position. Transplant of anti-rejection medications.

The committee suggested "a fundraising effort of $ 10,000," according to a rejection letter that has gone viral. The sum is intended to pay 20% of the copay to pay for two years of medication, noted the GoFundMe campaign.

Martin's son, Alex Britt, established the fund and wrote that because his mother "needs the funds immediately to qualify to be included in the transplant list and not waste valuable time, we are asking for anything she can afford" .

The dog walker and pet sitter is coping with congestive heart failure after chemotherapy more than a decade earlier for breast cancer, his son wrote. Martin "has at least 20 more years of life in her … if she can get a new heart," Alex wrote.

In a long statement, Spectrum Health, a medical provider with 14 hospitals, said it could not comment on individual patients, because of their privacy rights.

"While it is always annoying when we can not provide a transplant, we have an obligation to ensure that transplants are successful and that donor organs remain viable," said the medical provider. "We carefully review candidates for heart and lung transplant procedures with care and compassion, and these are often very complex and difficult decisions."

Spectrum said its focus was on patients' well-being, but "the fact is that transplants require lifelong care and immunosuppression, and therefore costs are sometimes an unfortunate and inevitable factor in the process of taking decisions. "

Martin's story caught the attention of the media, prompted by a tweet from the rejection letter from the United States House of Representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat. "The insurance groups are recommending GoFundMe as an official policy, where clients can die if they can not reach the target on time, but insurance, medical attention from a single payer is not reasonable," he wrote.

The bets may be exceptionally high for Martin, but she is not alone in obtaining online donations for her health-related bills. Medical campaigns are an important part of the fundraising that takes place in GoFundMe, since one third of the worldwide donations of the site goes to medical costs.

More than 250,000 medical campaigns around the world have raised $ 650 million a year on average, says the site, which excludes other crowdfunding portfolio businesses such as YouCaring and CrowdRise. That compares to approximately $ 330 million raised for the GoFundMe commemorative campaigns each year on average, $ 230 million for emergency campaigns and $ 70 million for educational funds.

"Every day at GoFundMe, we see the challenges that Americans face with the rising costs of a flawed health care system. "Their stories are often heartbreaking, and we strive to be a place where people in need can find help and support," a website spokesperson told MarketWatch.

"Despite the progress made with the Affordable Care Act, there are increasing gaps in treatment coverage, prescriptions and costs related to medical care, even for patients with insurance," said the spokesperson. , adding that the necessary expenses could be from Loss of income to the payment of new therapies.

The site emphasized that it did not seek to be "a substitute social safety net" because "a collective financing platform can not and should not be a solution to systemic and complex problems that must be solved with significant public policies".

An affordable and powerful health service was a right that had to be fought, said GoFundMe. "Meanwhile, we will continue to work hard to provide a place where Americans can help each other in times of need."

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Spending occurs as health costs increase for both employer-sponsored premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. In fact, medical costs accounted for 17.4% of gross domestic product in 2016, a record high, according to a report published last month by the Economic Policy Institute.

Medical care emerged as the most important issue in the recent midterm elections, according to several surveys. In fact, other studies say that medical bills are the main cause of personal bankruptcies.

Trusting the Internet to get help with medical bills has its risks. The patient must wait until he receives enough money and arrives on time. Patients who require organ transplants, for example, must be sick enough to qualify for the transplant list and, in such circumstances, may have only months or even weeks to find the necessary finances and a donor.

Meanwhile, good-hearted donors should also make sure that their money is used correctly. While there is no suggestion of impropriety with Martin, it does happen.

In a recent high-profile case, New Jersey prosecutors recently filed charges against a couple and a homeless man who allegedly defrauded donors to donate more than $ 400,000 in a GoFundMe campaign. The campaign was supposed to help the homeless man who saved his last $ 20 to help a stranded unit. GoFundMe said it would reimburse the donors trapped in that case.

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