When she arrived in Mexico on December 12th, she passed all of her pre-op tests and was ready for the procedure. At the time, there were approximately 30 other patients there waiting for their operation or healing from one. Those waiting for an operation were confident, and those who were just out of surgery were happy and healing nicely. Tiffany’s surgery was scheduled for the next morning. When Tiffany came out of surgery, she was in terrible pain and knew that something was wrong. When the doctor came in to complete a “dye test,” to ensure that the stomach had been successfully closed up, it was found that Tiffany’s stomach had a massive leak. The dye was literally leaking out of her body. She had been so nauseated from the anesthesia that the vomiting caused her stitches to rip open. In order to fix the leak, Tiffany was forced to undergo a second surgery. The doctors believed they had fixed the leak with the second surgery, but unfortunately the Methlyn Blue Dye Test showed otherwise. Her stomach was still leaking. She was in critical condition for two days due to her stomach leaking harmful substances into her body. Because of having two surgeries so close together, Tiffany acquired pneumonia. The doctor wanted to move her to a trauma center/more advanced hospital, but the insurance company was lagging and fighting the move to a new hospital due to the additional costs. Before leaving the first clinic, Tiffany had already paid a little over $400 out-of-pocket. She then had to pay for an ambulance ride to the trauma center before they would transport her even in her critical care. Tiffany was forced to sit in the ambulance in the loading bay of the trauma center for hours while the hospital waited on confirmation from the insurance company that they would pay for her next procedure. When she arrived at the new hospital Tiffany underwent surgery number three. This time, the surgeon used glue, staples, and sutures to close up her stomach. Following the surgery she was transferred to the ICU when they learned that her body was septic and breaking down. At this point, Tiffany had not been able to eat anything for three days. Lacking proper nutrients, along with the stress of three surgeries, was causing Tiffany to weaken and her veins were closing up. This revelation led to surgery number four: putting a central line catheter into her jugular vein. This central line was used to quickly inject much needed nutrients and medication straight into Tiffany’s blood stream. Tiffany was then given a CT exam to see if the third surgery to fix her stomach had worked. The CT showed that her stomach was still leaking. Tiffany had to have yet another surgery. On December 19th, Tiffany underwent her 5th surgery to close up her stomach. The surgeon said that this leak was so minute that he could perform this surgery endoscopically. The results yesterday showed that this surgery was a success so currently she is waiting for her body to heal so she can travel home.
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the line for Tiffany. Her surgeon has informed her that she will have to have more endoscopies to monitor her stomach when she returns to the United States, which her insurance company will not pay for. She has to now receive anemia treatments. She will have to see specialists, rather than her current physician – all of which her insurance stated that they will not pay for as it is not in her policy.
In addition to these costs, the family incurred numerous other costs. Tiffany’s fiancée traveled with her for the surgery. He has missed several more days of work than originally planned and may come home to find that he has no job. Their airline flights had to be changed – to the week of Christmas, which is much more expensive than the original flights. Tiffany’s parents flew to Mexico after she was transferred to the trauma center. They have their out-of-pocket travel costs (flights, rental car, lodging). Originally, no one was planning on needing to make phone calls from Mexico since the operation was supposed to be so quick and painless, but when complications began to occur, it became necessary to call family members. We have no idea what the cell phone bill will be, since Sprint does not offer an international plan for calling from Mexico, but we are assuming that it will be extremely high. In addition to paying whatever the insurance does not cover at the new trauma center, each doctor will have to be paid individually. These bills will not be received for quite some time, but they will certainly be more than planned.
I wish I could say that Tiffany is healed and simply in need of monetary support now, but we are still seeking your prayers, as well. Tiffany has a long road ahead of her filled with more doctors, medications, and possibly some physical therapy. On top of that, if she is not well by January 5th, she could be kicked out of college. She is currently in school to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing, in which she performs clinicals and hands-on work with patients. In order to do this, she has to be in perfect health.
We appreciate any support that you can offer and solicit your prayers.
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