Struggle to survive: Single mom in battle with advanced breast cancer, unpaid bills

Lexey Swall/Staff
Susan Alderman gets an MRI on her upper spine during her fifth day at the NCH North Collier Hospital in February in Naples. Alderman went to the emergency room with a fever and was admitted to the hospital. She ran a fever for three days after receiving chemotherapy and tried to get antibiotics, but the pharmacy had her under the wrong insurance and it would not cover the medication. The antibiotics were $130, money Alderman didn't have.

Lexey Swall/Staff Susan Alderman gets an MRI on her upper spine during her fifth day at the NCH North Collier Hospital in February in Naples. Alderman went to the emergency room with a fever and was admitted to the hospital. She ran a fever for three days after receiving chemotherapy and tried to get antibiotics, but the pharmacy had her under the wrong insurance and it would not cover the medication. The antibiotics were $130, money Alderman didn't have.

Susan Alderman, 40, was diagnosed in November but couldn't start treatment for a month. Financial instability and a lack of insurance meant the South Fort Myers mom had to make choices — pay rent or receive treatment. There aren't countywide social programs in Lee County that help provide financial care to cancer patients.

— Susan Alderman's hair once flowed with bouncy, dirty-blond locks. Now, her bare scalp and the red rings around her eyes remind her of a weekend spent in excruciating pain.

Alderman checked into NCH North Naples Hospital with a high fever and dangerously low white blood cell counts on a Friday in February. Roman, her now 7-year-old son, climbed up on her in her hospital bed, making himself comfortable.

"If it wasn't for him, probably ..." and her voice trails off as she holds back tears. "He's the reason that I keep going. He's my life. Just that little smile and when he says, 'Hi mom,' it keeps me going."

Roman comes first. Her Stage IV breast cancer comes second.

Alderman, 40, was diagnosed in November but couldn't start treatment for a month. Financial instability and a lack of insurance meant the South Fort Myers mom had to make choices — pay rent or receive treatment. There aren't countywide social programs in Lee County that help provide financial care to cancer patients.

Before her February hospital visit, she was prescribed an antibiotic. It would have prevented the severity of her illness, but she had to make a choice. It was too expensive, unaffordable for the struggling single mother.

Doctors believed her chemotherapy treatments depleted her body so severely of leukocytes, or white blood cells, that she needed a blood transfusion.

The cancer continues to spread. She's out of the hospital now. But that February day, Alderman's hospital room was decorated with blue and pink construction paper.

"Sorry you're in the hospital," wrote Roman, an honor-roll student, on a card filled with hearts. "Hope you feel better."

He refused to leave Alderman's bedside; at first, when he was home he'd worry himself to tears about his mom. After a few months, Roman began to accept her condition.

"He's using the word 'cancer,' " Alderman said. "He's understanding a lot more."

* * * * *

When Alderman began treatment at Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute in Bonita Springs a month after her diagnosis, she was told she needed it regularly.

Trouble was, she couldn't afford it.

"There needs to be some kind of organization in Lee County to help people with cancer," said Susan Alderman, who lives about 5 miles north of Estero, the boundary that Collier organizations draw to provide help.

Alderman's mother, Margie Alderman, 57, said she helped call around for assistance, but was always told nothing could be done. Mom provides what support she can for her daughter, and supporting friends also help.

But organizations that can provide financial assistance are scarce.

"In Lee County, there isn't an organization like the ones in Collier County that would help her," said Miriam Ross, executive director of the Susan G. Komen Southwest Florida affiliate for breast cancer research.

The Komen Foundation doesn't help individuals directly. Instead, all money raised through donations or events goes toward research or providing grants to established charitable organizations.

Some groups, like The Cancer Alliance of Naples (CAN), Bosom Buddies Breast Cancer Support Inc., and Long-term Impact through the Gift of Hope and Treatment (LIGHT) of Southwest Florida, are either supported through grants from Komen or exist in Collier County through fundraising efforts. The Komen grant money is either put toward living or medical expenses directly — not given to the patient.

Some groups, like The Cancer Alliance of Naples (CAN), Bosom Buddies Breast Cancer Support Inc., and Long-term Impact through the Gift of Hope and Treatment (LIGHT) of Southwest Florida, are supported through grants from Komen. The money is either put toward living or medical expenses directly — not given to the patient.

"We get many people from Lee County, and we don't know where to turn," said Marianne Larimer, executive director of CAN. "It's a terrible thing to know these people might be evicted or have their utilities turned off while they wait for help."

CAN gets five to 10 calls weekly from Lee residents needing help paying daily expenses. Although the organization has expanded into Bonita Springs and Estero, she said, it cannot afford to continue the expansion of services farther north.

Even after CAN moved into south Lee and received a $33,000 grant from Komen last year, there still were patients needing financial assistance who were turned away.

"When someone calls from Lee County, I'm sitting at my desk with my fingers crossed hoping the person says Bonita Springs or Estero," Larimer said.

Still, she touts the organization's success, noting it's helped 1,000 Collier families with nearly $1.5 million in the past 10 years for rent, utilities and other living expenses.

"We get many people from Lee County, and we don't know where to turn," said Marianne Larimer, executive director of The Cancer Alliance of Naples. "It's a terrible thing to know these people might be evicted or have their utilities turned off while they wait for help."

"If a group of people from Lee County want to help set up something like this, I assure you, I'd be happy to help anybody," Larimer said.

Sandy Zinschlag founded LIGHT in Estero and receives a Komen grant, which helps her group cover medical expenses for patients who are underinsured. Those without insurance need more help than her organization can provide now, Zinschlag said.

Like CAN, LIGHT's services are limited to the community where the money is raised. For example, if money is raised in North Naples, LIGHT attempts to use that money exclusively to serve people in that area.

"It doesn't seem like Lee County is as organized getting things off the ground," Zinschlag said. "We find it difficult to get the business community behind us."

Zinschlag, a former oncology nurse, watched patients succumb to financial ruin.

"I saw the need to raise money to give relief to these people," she said.

She started in 2007 with a $19,000 Komen grant, and her budget this year was $74,000, which has helped nearly 40 people with medical bills. Unfortunately that money isn't available to Alderman even though most of her medical bills are in Collier County.

"It depends on how much money we have in bank; if we have the funds, we would do everything we could to help them," Zinschlag said.

* * * * *

Sore, cracked and often bleeding hands prevent Susan Alderman from working as a massage therapist to be able to buy the health insurance she desperately needs.

Attempts to rectify a clerical error in her Medicaid policy have resulted in a frustrating game of phone tag, placing the brunt of her expenses on her weak shoulders.

"Cancer lives on stress. I don't want to feed it," Alderman said. "But I am stressed — and not about my health. It's bills. Since I was diagnosed, all the stress is financial."

Despite the struggles and only a projected 30 percent chance of surviving the year, according to Alderman, she considers herself lucky.

She has a precocious son. She has a home. She's had career success, including working as a prison guard — dubbed by her peers, "Buffy the Inmate Slayer."

To help support Alderman, check her website, http://www.teamsusanwarriorprincess.com

That's in the past. Today, Alderman is making the best of her fighting chance.

With the support of a close-knit group of friends, Alderman has raised nearly $8,000 from donations to cover her medical and living expenses since she was diagnosed.

"I'm still nickel and dime-ing," Alderman said. "But it has helped."

Yet there's a nearly $60,000 bill remaining for her chemotherapy.

High school friend Susana Pascuma, 41, organized a yard sale in her hometown of Ocala earlier this year. By the time every item had been carted off, she had $2,300 for her friend. Once Alderman paid costs she had $1,300 for her bills.

On a Saturday in March, other friends organized a fundraiser for Alderman at Dirty Gator's in Fort Myers. It featured a silent auction boasting footballs signed by Miami Dolphin stars Dan Marino and Jason Taylor, who also wrote her a personal message.

The fundraiser had gear from Florida Gulf Coast University sports teams, restaurants, signed baseball memorabilia and handmade crafts and shirts bearing the name, "Team Susan." In the end, more than $4,300 was raised.

As support grows stronger for Alderman and her faith flourishes, her cancer is still growing despite chemotherapy. Another growth was discovered in her trachea.

"I pray a lot, but it must be Roman," she said. "He's my support. He keeps me going, my inspiration. It would break my heart if he was by himself. I can't leave him alone."

__ To help support Alderman check her website, http://www.teamsusanwarriorprincess.com

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 83

Sick writes:

Keep getting treatment they can't refuse you. And who cares about your credit at this point?

Just get fixed and worry about the bills later.

Or don't even pay them like everyone else without insurance.

Nothing new here. Many are in the same boat.

Good luck.

2konks2mom writes:

Your treatment and survival come first. Forget the bills. People without insurance don't pay them, only those with insurance have their policies to cover them. No one can survive the monstrous bills for cancer treatment. Ignore them!!! BTW I'm currently in my first six months of breast cancer survival. My last chemo was in December. Make plans for your son just in case (your Mom?), and then relax and survive. Best wishes to you and for your recovery.

alandav writes:

A very touching article....so sad, yet happening every day in our community.

Hope everyone reading this article will go to the website and donate a little or a lot! I did......and you should too!

beetlejuice writes:

Lee County can't go on like this forever. WTF? Komen doesn't help individuals?
Oh how nice
Komen cuts off assistance tuh Planned Parenthood...& individuals mean nuthin
lovely

Sick writes:

I wonder what happened to her husband? He should be there to support her and help her even if they don't love each other anymore.

Unless he has passed or she ran him off.

opheliac (Inactive) writes:

in response to 2konks2mom:

Your treatment and survival come first. Forget the bills. People without insurance don't pay them, only those with insurance have their policies to cover them. No one can survive the monstrous bills for cancer treatment. Ignore them!!! BTW I'm currently in my first six months of breast cancer survival. My last chemo was in December. Make plans for your son just in case (your Mom?), and then relax and survive. Best wishes to you and for your recovery.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sick writes:

in response to opheliac:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

MIF writes:

in response to opheliac:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Irresponsible? She is not advising her to go on a shopping spree, but to take care of herself and LIVE! What would your advice be? Responsibility and death? You are an idiot!

woodguru writes:

Tell them your name is Maria santiagofloresramirez and you do not speak english. it automatically goes to medicaid and its free

Sick writes:

I bet you people would like to have her whole life audited to see if she is worthy of a handout.

You want to see if she wasted money on things like bars and tat's instead of being responsible and paying for health insurance huh?

Well that's not how it works anymore. Today people don't worry about simple things like health insurance when having a fun and fullfilling life is more important.

If you don't believe me just ask around and you will see that a new tattoo of a dolphin on the ankle to represent a womans freedom is way more important.

Even more important is that car payment on that 2012 Kia with the chrome rim package to stand out in the crowd when it pulls up to the club.

It's not like she knew she was going to end up with cancer or any other health problem ever in her life.

Not even for her son.

So think before you speak about people's choices and why they end up where they are.

Sick writes:

This lady sounds like she would help for free.

Maybe call her. She has an ad right here on the NDN and is proud to show off her services.

I say call and ask.

http://web.naplesnews.com/klarson/Lan...

flanative writes:

If she voted Republican, I have no sympathy, this is how they want our health system to function.
If she voted Democrat, I feel sorry for her. Until we have single payer health care, expect more stories like this. This is the only major country that has medicine for profit. We have the highest infant mortalty and the lowest life expectancy of any Western country.
As long as your medical care depends on money or insurance, this is how it goes.

Collier_resident writes:

in response to opheliac:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow..... What a piece of work. How do you sleep at night?
Maybe komen should rethink their funding, and maybe all of us should step up and help this woman.

cons3rvative writes:

The US is the only industrialized country to not have universal health care. We pay 16% of our GDP towards health care, twice the rate of countries where everyone is covered. In the end its cheaper to insure all and make preventative medicine a priority. BTW all those 'socialized medicine' countries have longer average life expectancy and lower infant mortality rate. Its time we stopped propping up insurance companies that pay 100 million dollars a year to a CEO and take care of our fellow 'man'....

TiredoftheBS writes:

If she was a minority or entitled she would have had treatment all along without worrying about the cost.

Sick writes:

Do you know why 1 M.R.I. cost 5 grand at NCH?

To cover the other 50 they don't see a dime for.

The hospitals and Docs get theirs you can bet.

FreshFace writes:

I wish nothing but the best for this woman and her family. When an illness hits, no matter how financially prepared you are, it's never enough. I lost my home, savings, insurance after COBRA..it was hell. When one should be focusing on beating an illness they are forced to find money to eat, keep a roof over their head and pay medical bills.

FreshFace writes:

in response to beetlejuice:

Lee County can't go on like this forever. WTF? Komen doesn't help individuals?
Oh how nice
Komen cuts off assistance tuh Planned Parenthood...& individuals mean nuthin
lovely

Susan G. Komen is rolling over in her grave for what has become of the foundation in her name. They bully smaller foundations if they dare use the word "cure" in their tag. They don't provide mammograms for ALL women that need it. They claim they do, but they do not. There are plenty of other AWESOME breast cancer foundations out there...Use your money wisely. Komen sure doesn't use the donations wisely.

Sick writes:

in response to FreshFace:

I wish nothing but the best for this woman and her family. When an illness hits, no matter how financially prepared you are, it's never enough. I lost my home, savings, insurance after COBRA..it was hell. When one should be focusing on beating an illness they are forced to find money to eat, keep a roof over their head and pay medical bills.

Welcome to life. You are not special.

And don't think for a second someone is going to help you when you get sick.

You are on your own.

FreshFace writes:

I love how the people that are sitting pretty right now think it's a matter of being "responsible". LOL, I was a single woman, working as a teacher, making about $40K, owned a home in my budget, had a savings of about $40K along with a pension. When I was diagnosed with an incureable illness I had to leave teaching (working all together) and start paying for COBRA. Social Security Disability denied me over and over because (per the judge that finally heard my case) I was too young and educated to ever have to have SSD and Medicare. Well, during that hearing, four years after being diagnosed mind you ,the judge was furious I was denied and had to appeal and appeal and lose everything (home, savings, care...no, I did not go bankrupt. I sold my home and used my savings to pay to stay alive. Luckily I have parents that helped me or I would have died in the streets during that time). She immediately approved me and apologized profusely. I am not alone. I work with the foundation for my disease and this is a daily story. After COBRA is up (which is well over $600 a month for one person) try and get insurance. Just try. If you do, you'll pay $750+ like I did in order to stay alive. Then add on all the doctor's bills, drug costs etc. Because the insurance you do find will SUCK.

SO, those of you that think you have it all and are so responsible I hate to see where you are if you get ill like some of us have become. I spent over $65K for my BA and MEd and can no longer use the degree. I paid all my bills. I was left to die by a system that doesn't care about those that actually paid into it, but if I had been from some other country and here illegally I bet I wouldn't have been denied so quickly.

So, as you can see, no matter how prepared you are, when illness strikes, it's never enough. I can never work again, I get sicker as the years go on and my parents, starting at age 35 (now 42) had to help support me. They should be using their fixed income on themselves. It would be easier to die, but as humans we continue to fight to survive. We do NOT need a lecture that we are irresponsible because I can assure you I am much more responsible than your comments have suggested you are. You're a sad piece of of work and I feel sorry for you. Empathy can not be taught.

Sick writes:

in response to FreshFace:

I love how the people that are sitting pretty right now think it's a matter of being "responsible". LOL, I was a single woman, working as a teacher, making about $40K, owned a home in my budget, had a savings of about $40K along with a pension. When I was diagnosed with an incureable illness I had to leave teaching (working all together) and start paying for COBRA. Social Security Disability denied me over and over because (per the judge that finally heard my case) I was too young and educated to ever have to have SSD and Medicare. Well, during that hearing, four years after being diagnosed mind you ,the judge was furious I was denied and had to appeal and appeal and lose everything (home, savings, care...no, I did not go bankrupt. I sold my home and used my savings to pay to stay alive. Luckily I have parents that helped me or I would have died in the streets during that time). She immediately approved me and apologized profusely. I am not alone. I work with the foundation for my disease and this is a daily story. After COBRA is up (which is well over $600 a month for one person) try and get insurance. Just try. If you do, you'll pay $750+ like I did in order to stay alive. Then add on all the doctor's bills, drug costs etc. Because the insurance you do find will SUCK.

SO, those of you that think you have it all and are so responsible I hate to see where you are if you get ill like some of us have become. I spent over $65K for my BA and MEd and can no longer use the degree. I paid all my bills. I was left to die by a system that doesn't care about those that actually paid into it, but if I had been from some other country and here illegally I bet I wouldn't have been denied so quickly.

So, as you can see, no matter how prepared you are, when illness strikes, it's never enough. I can never work again, I get sicker as the years go on and my parents, starting at age 35 (now 42) had to help support me. They should be using their fixed income on themselves. It would be easier to die, but as humans we continue to fight to survive. We do NOT need a lecture that we are irresponsible because I can assure you I am much more responsible than your comments have suggested you are. You're a sad piece of of work and I feel sorry for you. Empathy can not be taught.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sick writes:

in response to BillBull:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Mexico.

TiredoftheBS writes:

in response to Sick:

Mexico.

Not!

You might want to brush up their immigration laws. They are among the most strict in the world!

2konks2mom writes:

in response to opheliac:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My insurance pays my bills and probably some other persons' also, looking at the amount that I'm being charged. I'm not a freeloader. Only suggesting that she concentrate on getting well, not worrying about money.

Sick writes:

Maybe this guy could pull some strings for the woman.

I hear he has friends in the system.

http://web.naplesnews.com/klarson/Lan...

blefebvre writes:

in response to opheliac:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Having health insurance is no guarantee that you will be protected from major, life-changing expenses if you have cancer. In fact, most bankruptcies that happen as a result of medical problems are filed by people who have health insurance. Keep in mind that even the best health insurance won’t cover all your health costs. Some procedures and lab test insurance won't cover or will only pay a small fraction of the cost leaving you with the balance. Prescription drug plans don't pay for all medications and there is that dreaded hole (where you pay 100% of the expense until you reach a certain dollar amount and the insurance then kicks in again) but even then some medications you pay dearly for as the insurance will pay only so much toward the cost.

blefebvre writes:

in response to flanative:

If she voted Republican, I have no sympathy, this is how they want our health system to function.
If she voted Democrat, I feel sorry for her. Until we have single payer health care, expect more stories like this. This is the only major country that has medicine for profit. We have the highest infant mortalty and the lowest life expectancy of any Western country.
As long as your medical care depends on money or insurance, this is how it goes.

The Obama healthcare will lead to Canadian style socialized medicine~ the consequences:

* A 16% higher cancer death rate in Canada
* An eight week wait for radiation therapy for cancer patients
* 42% of Canadians die of colon cancer vs. 31% in the US
* Cutbacks in diagnostic testing
* The best meds for chemo therapy are not available
* No way out of the system; you can’t even pay for services yourself – in fact Canadians now come here to circumvent their system.

In England you have long waits for procedures - my cousin needed surgery on her elbow and she was put on a list for three years! A 23-year-old died of cervical cancer because doctors in England said she was too young for a smear test ~ by the time she was diagnosed the cancer was way to advance. In England regular smear tests are only given to women over 25 years of age. So don't think that Obama health care will be the greatest thing since slice bread! The reason that insurance is so expensive is because of health cost. The reason that health cost is so expensive is because there is no CAP on what doctors, hospital & medical clinic can charge. If you were bleeding and I price gouged you for a bandaid the government would be quick to put a stop to it. You want a shock ask for an itemized bill at a hospital - your aspirin may have cost you a dollar.

floridacarpenter writes:

in response to MIF:

Irresponsible? She is not advising her to go on a shopping spree, but to take care of herself and LIVE! What would your advice be? Responsibility and death? You are an idiot!

You are truly a MORON.If the Doctors and Hospitals in this country can't figure out a way to treat people that need help but can't afford it, we are really in trouble as a nation.

We have turned into a nation of money grubbers whose only thougts are MONEY,MONEY,MONEY!!!!

NUFF SAID

gundogjh writes:

And still people criticise a universal health system such as the NHS in Britain. Whilst not perfect, we would never tolerate letting someone lose their home or defer treatment just because they don't have the money. Health care is fundamental right just as the right to be protected. Surely no one would expect to pay at the point of use for say the police or fire service? No doubt we will be called socialists/commies etc. but no one in Britain loses sleep because they don't have insurance to cover health problems. Now here comes the usual abuse.

gundogjh writes:

in response to blefebvre:

The Obama healthcare will lead to Canadian style socialized medicine~ the consequences:

* A 16% higher cancer death rate in Canada
* An eight week wait for radiation therapy for cancer patients
* 42% of Canadians die of colon cancer vs. 31% in the US
* Cutbacks in diagnostic testing
* The best meds for chemo therapy are not available
* No way out of the system; you can’t even pay for services yourself – in fact Canadians now come here to circumvent their system.

In England you have long waits for procedures - my cousin needed surgery on her elbow and she was put on a list for three years! A 23-year-old died of cervical cancer because doctors in England said she was too young for a smear test ~ by the time she was diagnosed the cancer was way to advance. In England regular smear tests are only given to women over 25 years of age. So don't think that Obama health care will be the greatest thing since slice bread! The reason that insurance is so expensive is because of health cost. The reason that health cost is so expensive is because there is no CAP on what doctors, hospital & medical clinic can charge. If you were bleeding and I price gouged you for a bandaid the government would be quick to put a stop to it. You want a shock ask for an itemized bill at a hospital - your aspirin may have cost you a dollar.

Rubbish. Anyone who NEEDS treatment does not have to wait the times you quote and no doctor ever REFUSED a smear test to any woman. You can see a doctor the same day if you want and you will de referred to a consultant for treatment within a very short time and immediately if necessary. Death rates from cancer are lower than the USA. Anyone can be selective when quoting individual cases but the fact is the NHS provides excellent treatment which costs much less than your insurance rip off system.

Collier_resident writes:

in response to FreshFace:

I wish nothing but the best for this woman and her family. When an illness hits, no matter how financially prepared you are, it's never enough. I lost my home, savings, insurance after COBRA..it was hell. When one should be focusing on beating an illness they are forced to find money to eat, keep a roof over their head and pay medical bills.

You have been on here for years talking about your illness and circumstances. I am very glad that you have survived. This country is seriously screwed up. I cannot understand why anyone has to die just because they live on the wrong side of a county line. I tried to donate via the link but it seems to be down. I think if everyone reading this could donate even 20 dollars it would help Susan.

Sick writes:

in response to floridacarpenter:

You are truly a MORON.If the Doctors and Hospitals in this country can't figure out a way to treat people that need help but can't afford it, we are really in trouble as a nation.

We have turned into a nation of money grubbers whose only thougts are MONEY,MONEY,MONEY!!!!

NUFF SAID

Next time I would not tell them I was a carpenter.

It may help.

flanative writes:

in response to gundogjh:

Rubbish. Anyone who NEEDS treatment does not have to wait the times you quote and no doctor ever REFUSED a smear test to any woman. You can see a doctor the same day if you want and you will de referred to a consultant for treatment within a very short time and immediately if necessary. Death rates from cancer are lower than the USA. Anyone can be selective when quoting individual cases but the fact is the NHS provides excellent treatment which costs much less than your insurance rip off system.

Too right! I am ashamed that in the 21st century this country will let people die homeless, bankrupt and without proper treatment for medical care. It is an indictment of the "i'm alright, ---k you" selfishness so endemic today. Sadly, we are not a very compassionate country.
And to all the posters who hate "socialized medicine", what do you think Medicare is? It isn't perfect, either but it is a social program paid for by all to benefit the few.
And I would like to hear of one single country that has had "socialized" single payer medical care that has scrapped it and gone back to the capitalistic medicine for profit system.

unfatcat writes:

I don't believe that either dems or reps have the answer to the healthcare system entirely. Each has pieces to the puzzle, but fails at the result; because the bottom line is not who has insurance; the problem is the cost of healthcare. One should be paying for services that are standard and use insurance for services that are emergency.

Currently, people with insurance pay for their insurance monthly, whether sick or not, plus they are targeted for the extra tests and treatments that are the costly items, not necessarily put on to one without insurance, while adding thousands of dollars to bills. So, people with insurance pay plenty and file medical bankruptcies just as easily as the uninsured. I have refinanced my home twice for medical with good insurance.

What if everyone was treated like they had no insurance at medical institutions? And the insurance relationship was only with the patient; not the medical facility? So, you didn't hand a card over to the receptionist to make all of the arrangements on your behalf and for charges unbenounced to you?

If patients first paid for regular services out of pocket with knowledge of costs for services, handled their own insurance arrangements and authorizations, filed their own claims, and authorized their own expenses; costs would come down; and costs to insurance would come down and, thereby, insurance could be used by all for the purpose it was designed, which is emergency-only situations. The patient needs to decide if the cost if worth the service; not the insurance company and not the doctor's office.

Medicare/medicaid should have a nonprofit facility that specializes in elderly issues; so, many people could be seen for similar, and therefore less expense, problems.

colinkelly2 writes:

Gundogjh, in the US, the 5 year survival after a diagnosis of prostate cancer is 100%. In England, it's 77%. Tell you tale of better cancer survival to the families of the one men in four who dies of it there, but not here.

wrightconnection writes:

in response to Sick:

Next time I would not tell them I was a carpenter.

It may help.

Eleven comments from you today on this one article alone! It's a beautiful day, go outside and get a life!

wonderful (Inactive) writes:

in response to fingerbang:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Should've been an afghan, eh?

Then you get money from present obama!

Best to all!

NaplesNative7 writes:

in response to opheliac:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Heartless! Opheliac, it is YOU my dear who is a detriment to society. Obviously COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH with the fact that MANY can not afford or are denied health insurance. You comment is that of a HEARTLESS, SHALLOW human!

NaplesNative7 writes:

in response to Sick:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sick, your are a sick, out of touch IDIOT!

clwasid#257868 writes:

in response to alandav:

A very touching article....so sad, yet happening every day in our community.

Hope everyone reading this article will go to the website and donate a little or a lot! I did......and you should too!

While I think that the article was touching, I did not appreciate the photo front and center on Easter Morning!

beerbong writes:

Really hard to believe some of the comments on here. If you have lets say a $70,k a year job, with all the day to day expenses that go along with life. And you have a catastrophic illness, and you are laid up for a year or two, lose your job, car, insurance, savings, and all the things that go along with life. And end up with a million dollar or more in medical bills. What the heck can you do, or what would you do. Say well I can't afford to live, so I choose to die. Without very good health insurance who is prepared for this, maybe Bill Gates or somebody of that type of wealth. Some here don't realize that the average person that feels like they are doing fairly well is probably six months or less away from being homeless. The willingness of some here to give someone an extra kick once they are already down is amazing to me. Some times a little encouragement is all someone needs to get them over the hump. I know too that some here try their best to sound over the top or just a crazy as possible to stroke their own ego, so they can sit back and pat themselves on the back to just make their own day. I think that the comments should be blocked on certain types of articles such as what they used to call human interest. Because clearly some on here are not human.

Sick writes:

in response to beerbong:

Really hard to believe some of the comments on here. If you have lets say a $70,k a year job, with all the day to day expenses that go along with life. And you have a catastrophic illness, and you are laid up for a year or two, lose your job, car, insurance, savings, and all the things that go along with life. And end up with a million dollar or more in medical bills. What the heck can you do, or what would you do. Say well I can't afford to live, so I choose to die. Without very good health insurance who is prepared for this, maybe Bill Gates or somebody of that type of wealth. Some here don't realize that the average person that feels like they are doing fairly well is probably six months or less away from being homeless. The willingness of some here to give someone an extra kick once they are already down is amazing to me. Some times a little encouragement is all someone needs to get them over the hump. I know too that some here try their best to sound over the top or just a crazy as possible to stroke their own ego, so they can sit back and pat themselves on the back to just make their own day. I think that the comments should be blocked on certain types of articles such as what they used to call human interest. Because clearly some on here are not human.

Nobody has ever paid 1 million in hospital bills.

And no one has ever been denied treatment.

Get a life.

anotherPOV writes:

in response to fingerbang:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We already have death panels in America. However, we believe in capitalism so we have death panels for profit. We call them insurance companies.

beerbong writes:

in response to Sick:

Nobody has ever paid 1 million in hospital bills.

And no one has ever been denied treatment.

Get a life.

Back Atcha!!!

Quietcat writes:

The Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa has a very good financial aid system and lots of clinical trials that are free. My mother received excellent treatment there for melanoma several years ago and I believe they saved her life. Luckily she could afford her own treatment, but several times we were approached by the aid office to see if we needed assistance. I would advise her to look into this ASAP. If travel is an issue I believe they can arrange local accomodations if hospitalization isn't needed. This may have changed, but it's worth finding out.
Best of luck-this is a horrible position for anyone to be in.

warrenfire writes:

in response to opheliac:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Opheliac,

You are an evil, twisted and no doubt card carrying GOP member. This case and the thousands like it provide the best evidence of why, like stage IV cancer, stage IV Capitalism is a failure.

Humanitarian/social resources must be part of any healthy, educated and survivable society. I don't think conservative America meets that challenge. And unless we change we too will fail as recorded by historians.

In the meantime Opheliac, slither back under a dark rock where you belong.

He is risen;
Happy Easter

cons3rvative writes:

There is a ton of outright lying going on in here. If you want to quote statistics, post a link, source or its BS.

Like this: An assessment by Health Canada found that cancer mortality rates are almost identical in the two countries. source: "Progress Report on Cancer Control in Canada." Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, 2004 pg. 11

Or this handy chart that shows how the US spends MORE than twice as much as the UK or Canada!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tot...

lemonjello writes:

Please do not lump any GOP person with Ophe-idiot. I am a Conservative and think we should do EVERYTHING we can for this woman and her family. She isn't a leech, no one asks for Cancer. Stupidity is rampant in both parties...

cons3rvative writes:

Canada VS the US Healthcare Matchup:

Basic Statistics

U.S. Canada
Life Expectancy (Male) 74.8 77.4
Life Expectancy (Female) 80.1 82.4
Infant Mortality/1000 live births6.8 5.3
Obesity Rate (Male) 31.1 17.0
Obesity Rate (Female) 32.2 19.0
HC spending as % of GDP (2005) 16.0% 10.4%
http://healthcare-economist.com/2007/...

Lola2 writes:

This is a very sad story and my heart goes out to this woman. I don't know where they got their information for this article though but it was incorrect. Bosom Buddies of Collier County is not affiliated with Susan Komen but it seems only Komen gets the accolades. Bosom Buddies is wonderful and as far as I know they don't get grants, they raise their own money in the community. They're awesome and deserve to be recognized for their contributions as well.

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