"Socialized medicine does not have Death Panels!"
Skip to comments.Denver boy, 9, died after state-benefits error denied him asthma medication
Posted on 02/04/2010 2:35:27 PM PST by Second Amendment First
A Montbello mother says her 9-year-old son's death from severe asthma could have been prevented had Denver Human Services resolved problems with his Medicaid pharmacy benefits.
Zuton Lucero said she called Human Services every three days for months last year when she was suddenly unable to get prescription drugs for her son, Zumante.
The boy's health deteriorated without the medication, his doctor said, and he died at Children's Hospital in July after losing consciousness at his house after an attack.
"I don't want anyone else to be sitting where I'm sitting," Lucero said.
Advocacy lawyers who met Wednesday with the Colorado Attorney General's Office hold up Lucero's story as an example of how serious the Zumante Lucero struggled with asthma since he was a baby. In March, his mother went to fill his Advair prescription, but it was denied. Months of calls followed to Human Services to no avail. The boy, 9, got progressively worse and died in July. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post) problems are with the state's $243 million computer system that is supposed to manage benefits and the county human workers behind it.
"The human system fell down," said Ed Kahn, a lawyer with the Colorado Center for Law and Policy, who is among a group of local and national lawyers weighing a lawsuit against the state for delays in getting food stamps and Medicaid benefits to people. "They are responsible for this kid's death."
The Colorado Benefits Management System is run through county human services offices and manages medical and food-assistance benefits for everyone in Colorado. Since its 2004 installation, the system has been beset by problems.
Lawyers advocating for Colorado's needy sat down with state officials Wednesday to discuss the problems that have the lawyers weighing whether to sue the state as they did in 2005 over similar issues.
"They presented us with some new information, and we listened carefully," Kahn said. "We hope to make a decision in relatively short order about how we are going to move forward."
Lucero, who works as a paraprofessional in Denver Public Schools, said Wednesday that she will continue to tell the story of Zumante's death "to enough people so that it won't ever be anyone else's story."
In addition to working with the advocacy lawyers, she has hired a personal attorney and is exploring a lawsuit against Denver.
Zumante had struggled with asthma since he was 3 months old. But when he was 6, the condition became serious enough for his mother to apply for benefits under Social Security, which also entitles him to Medicaid.
Andrew Lieber was Zu mante's physician since birth. He said the boy's lungs were severely inflamed, and his twice-daily medication, Advair, helped control that.
Last March, Lucero went to fill her son's prescriptions at a Walgreens near her home in Montbello. A worker there said Zumante didn't have prescription-drug coverage anymore.
Lucero says she called Denver Human Services every three days for four months trying to get him drug coverage. Each time she called, an automatic computer report was issued and sent to her house usually showing that all of her children including Zumante qualified for Medicaid.
But even when she brought in the reports to Walgreens, she was told the computer system showed he wasn't eligible for pharmaceutical benefits.
Throughout months of frustrating phone calls to Human Services' call-center operators, which often left Lucero in tears, Zumante's health weakened. She managed to reach her caseworker only once. The caseworker told her in March that the problem had been resolved.
Just why the system showed Zumante wasn't eligible for the prescription benefit when in fact he was still is not clear.
The little boy, who loved karate, drawing cartoon figures and riding bikes with his brothers and sisters, was often caught in spasms of panic because he couldn't catch his breath.
He went to the emergency room in May and June when the inhalers and nebulizers Lucero carried were not enough.
During the June trip to the ER, Lucero told doctors she wasn't able to get him his Advair.
They gave her some samples. When she told Zumante he was going to get to start taking his medicine again, the boy was so relieved he cried.
But it was too late. The medicine works progressively to keep inflammation down, Lieber said.
On July 16, Lucero was home and heard Zumante call her name from upstairs. He was on the nebulizer and told her he couldn't breathe. She called an ambulance. While she was waiting, Zumante lost consciousness.
She cradled him in the front yard while she waited to hear sirens. By the time paramedics got him to Children's Hospital, he had been unconscious for more than 10 minutes.
For four days, he was kept alive on a ventilator, but when Lucero decided to disconnect it, he died within a few minutes.
Denver Human Services officials said the agency "feels the death of any child as a tragic loss," said spokeswoman Revekka Balancier. "And our department tries very hard to prevent these kinds of tragic accidents."
Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14329527#ixzz0ebpAfnNW
And Dr.’s have samples. My children were given a sample of Advair. Something we seriously wrong on both ends.
"Socialized medicine does not have Death Panels!"
Ms. Lucero needs to be a little concerned as to why she couldn’t provide for her son.
Why didn’t she just buy it? This doesn’t make sense! The medication to save her son’s life was in a box a few feet in front of a wooden counter.
Another dead child on (Saint) Obama’s watch.
This may be the reason we don’t go around claiming to be the black Jesus with the Denver Post watching.
Something doesn’t jive right with this story?!! MONTHS without the meds? What’s wrong with this picture?
I’m sorry, if my child is that ill I’m buying medication myself. What kind of mother sits around waiting for some bureaucrat to get their sh*t together rather than scrounging up the money and getting what her child needs? The woman had a job, don’t tell me she couldn’t get the money.
See what the liberal welfare state does to people? This mother’s common sense was destroyed and her child paid the price.
Advair runs about $175/mo. full price.
However, severe asthma was controlled relatively well before Advair.
From the way this article reads, the kid was in a constant state of airway inflamation. Generally, this is not the way asthma operates. Asthma usually needs some sort of environmental trigger before it starts.
I’m 51, almost died from my asthma a couple of times in my youth. I survived and managed before Advair was even invented.
I say this, because I think there’s a lot more to this story than is being reported.
OLTG’s Rules for a Long and Happy Life #5467 “Do not ever rely on a government bureaucracy for life and death issues.”
I would sit in a bare house before letting my (future) child go without food or medication.
The kind that believes electing obama will solve all her problems.
I’d want to know some more details. Could be that mom was caught between a rock and a hard place, such as she can’t legally tap into some other discount program if she is “eligible for Medicaid.” Therefore to get the stuff she has to lay out MSRP which virtually nobody else has to pay (not even insurers). So chose to keep food on her table and try lesser treatments. I’d like to know what happened to the dad?
Who would let their child die because the government wouldn’t pay for the medicine?
60 doses of the generic Advair is $50 (just checked). Maybe someone could have helped her or something. Wow.
A careful reading of this story indicates this mother and her child are being supported by the state, that is, welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. She expects the state to provide for them and If the state doesn’t provide for them, they die. That is what socialism is all about. Now the woman is going to sue the state. I predict a lot more of this in our future as we are all herded into socialized medicine and other inefficient collective arrangements.
As a parent that was also my first thought...there is nothing that would stop me from getting medicine my kid needed....including flat out theft.
I wouldnt have put up with it for 4 days much less four months....
I suspect there is more to this story than we’ve been told....
Now that Social Security is officially broke and may need a bailout, look for more people to be denied.
The mother is stupid and the one to blame. She should have done anything possible to get the medicine.
from the article...
“Lucero, who works as a paraprofessional in Denver Public Schools”