Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Taking Her Case to Twitter: Oklahoma Family Turns to Social Media after Denial of Cancer Patient's Treatment

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Taking Her Case to Twitter: Oklahoma Family Turns to Social Media after Denial of Cancer Patient's Treatment

Article excerpt

When Lorelei Decker found out her stem cell transplant was denied by her insurance company, she canceled treatment-related travel arrangements and turned to Twitter to spread the word. On Tuesday at 3:33 p.m., the 18-year-old woman sent a message on the networking site alerting people to the situation. Hundreds responded."Blue Cross Blue Shield denied my application for coverage of my transplant. They think it isn't medically necessary. My family is irate."

-- Lorelei Decker (@LoreleiDecker) March 5, 2013By Wednesday afternoon, the insurance company had reversed its decision, said Andrea Decker, Lorelei's mother. But not before the family spent the day sending messages on Twitter and fielding calls from reporters.

Lorelei has Hodgkin's disease. She already has had one stem cell transplant using her own bone marrow, but the cancer didn't respond to treatment. Her doctor at MD Anderson in Houston wanted to try another kind of bone marrow transplant. This time, they planned to use stem cells from her sister, Hannah Decker.

Andrea said her insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, called and notified her Tuesday that the company was denying the preapproval paperwork sent by MD Anderson. The caseworker told her that her daughter's transplant request was denied because it was viewed as an experimental procedure. Dr. George Selby, director of blood and marrow transplant programs at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, said there are certain characteristics of a patient or the disease that insurance companies could classify as unresponsive to treatment. If blood cells are manipulated in a certain way, Selby said, a treatment could be classified as experimental.

When Lorelei Decker found out her transplant request was denied, she said she felt blindsided.

"I was dumbfounded they even denied it," she said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.