Disability Rights Advocate Carrie Ann Lucas Dies After Insurance Company Denied Her Necessary Medication

By Esther Wang: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd-This is the best discussion of how the insurance company killed Carrie Ann, and it includes many things about her advocacy.

A February 24 post on her Facebook page states that Lucas “died after an arbitrary denial from an insurance company caused a plethora of health problems, exacerbating her disabilities and eventually leading to her premature death.” More details from the post:

Because Carrie Ann worked for the state, she had use state insurance which was primary ahead of her Medicare and Medicaid. In January of 2018 she got a cold which turned into a trach and lung infection. Her insurance company UnitedHealthcare, refused to pay for the one specific inhaled antibiotic that she really needed. She had to take a less effective drug and had a bad reaction to that drug. This created a cascade of problems, loss of function (including her speech). United Healthcare’s attempt to save $2,000 cost over $1 million in health care costs over the past year. This includes numerous hospitalizations, always involving the Intensive Care Unit which is par for the course for ventilator users.

In her final blog post from January, Lucas wrote about the impact of spending a significant portion of the past year in the hospital:

In the last nine months, I’ve spent a total of eight weeks in the hospital. Some hospitalizations were shorter, 2 and 3 days, and over a weekend. Others have been longer 8-, 9- and 10-day long grinds like this one. In these nine months, I left one hospital against medical advice to transfer myself to another hospital because of inadequate care, acquired additional infections from the hospital, and suffered more medical mistakes than I can count.

When confronted with these realities time and time again during hospitalizations, the trauma builds. One can only be told you are incorrect, only to have someone come back later and confirm you were correct so many times. One can only correct medical mistakes so many times. One can only handle the disruption in any sort of routine so long. The loss of autonomy and uncertainty in the hospital is trauma inducing. Each hospitalization is worse because I have not had enough time between hospitalizations to allow my emotions to recover. This trauma is unacknowledged by physicians, and they fail to understand how their actions and patterns are creating trauma which simply exacerbates the situation. Instead we patients are left in a puddle of tears with few tools to help ourselves because we have no control, and face only uncertainty.

In a remembrance from the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, which gave Lucas an award in 2016, the group wrote: “Carrie may have been the only wheelchair-using Latina with a bumper sticker reading ‘just another disabled lesbian for Christ,’ dressed in camo, driving her trak-chair into the wilderness in search of the perfect photo.” The group added: “We are very grateful for all Carrie has taught us about disability rights and intersectionality, and for being a brilliant and hilarious colleague and friend.”

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