Health Care Team Rallies to Support Double Transplant Patient
Category: Adult Primary Care, Pediatrics
PHOTO: Left to right, Monica Ledesma, Hector Ramirez Moreno, Dr. Sarah Miller and Daisy Saucedo
By Lisa Foronda Harper
Monica Ledesma and her son, Hector, were simply looking for a family doctor when they came to Legacy’s Santa Clara clinic in 2016. But Legacy quickly became much more than a place to simply see the doctor, as the entire Santa Clara team rallied to get Hector the life-saving treatment he needed.
Hector was born with a birth defect that caused his intestines to develop outside his body. Despite reconstructive surgery, his body couldn’t absorb nutrients. Years of IV nutrition damaged Hector’s liver and, at five years old, he received a liver and small intestine double transplant in California.
“He was a whole new person,” says Monica. “It literally gave him life.” The procedure also came with a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs, constant monitoring of his health and countless medical tests. Despite all of this, Hector was healthy when the family decided to move to Houston in 2015, and they’d already found a transplant specialist to continue his care.
But, two short years later, things changed. Hector aged out of Medicaid insurance when he turned 18, and was then denied Social Security benefits. His health took a turn for the worse, and he spent six weeks in the hospital as medical bills continued to mount. Then, his transplant doctor suddenly died. “Things just got worse and worse,” says Monica. “Hector absolutely needed this treatment, and we needed help to continue his care. Legacy found us the lifeline we were searching for.”
Dr. Sarah Miller, Hector’s medical provider at Legacy, had already formed a special relationship with the family. “They were some of my first patients when I arrived at Legacy two years ago,” says Dr. Miller. “When things started to snowball, everyone on Hector’s team said we were going to do whatever it takes.”
Legacy Care Team Assistant Daisy Saucedo became the point person on insurance, making calls and setting appointments so the family could obtain coverage. She coordinated communication, and connected the family with social workers and financial assistance.
Daisy also worked with Dr. Miller, connecting with Hector’s original California transplant team to continue his treatment. “For months, we were a cross-country care team,” says Dr. Miller. “Being able to help Hector through this period in his life has been wonderful, and bridging the gap between their lack of insurance and uncertain health care to their present, more manageable situation has been so rewarding.”
2018 has started out much brighter for Hector. He now has insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, and he’s just started seeing a new transplant specialist. But he’s not leaving Legacy. Because Dr. Miller specializes in pediatrics and internal medicine, Hector will remain her patient as he transitions to adulthood. “She knows so much about me and my background. She’s more than a doctor. She’s part of the family, now,” says Hector.