Patrick's Failing Liver

My father has had increasingly bad bile duct blockage for almost two years now.  A little over a year ago, his health provider (Kaiser Permanente) told him he'd only have a few months to live.  Kaiser routinely has him come in for surgery to add/replace a plastic stent in order to clear the blockage.  This stent is only temporary and begins to fail at about the 2 month mark, but lately it has been failing sooner and sooner.  Due to his liver failure, he has begun retaining a large amount of water in his body, to the point where he sometimes gasps for breath as the water presses against his diaphram.  When he's retaining water, he's gaining 1.4lbs/day in water--and this is while he's barely eating.

Kaiser Permanente has been doing the bare minimum in caring for my father, in my opinion.  They feel he is close to death, so they do nothing but give him a new plastic stent and drain the water in the ER occassionally.  A stent is a temporary fix while you identify the problem, and Kaiser repeatedly fails to determine the problem or diagnose him.  My father is a Kaiser subscriber in Northern California, but he has been spending time visiting in Washington State with my family, as Kaiser has done nothing but tell him his days were numbered.  He wanted to spend time with his daughter and grandkids before he passed away.

My father was due for his latest stent surgery on September 11, 2017, which he had an appointment for.  He was already feeling deathly ill, his blood pressure 74/50.  He could not stand without being dizzy and fainting.  He had barely eaten for the prior two weeks because of the pain from the retained water.  He called in a week ahead of time to confirm his appointment, to which they told him they would have to reschedule, and they could reschedule him for November.  

On September 10th, I received a call from my mother that my father was very sick, couldn't get up, was in a massive amount of pain and needed to visit the emergency room.  I went to pick him up to take him to the hospital and he fainted with his eyes wide open, stiff as a board and rolled over.  I thought I had just watched my father die in front of me.  The Ambulance arrived and took him to the emergency room (not a Kaiser emergency room, as there are no Kaiser ERs in northern Washington).

My father has been admitted to the hospital since September 10th.  When he was admitted to the hospital, they drained 2 liters of fluid from his body.  That same day they called in a GI specialist and did the stent surgery, because he was dying.  They did the stent surgery even though he had low blood pressure, because even if it was risky, they couldn't wait anymore. He had septic shock because they found he had a huge infection near his liver near the stent that needed to be replaced.  His blood pressure stayed around 74/50 for two days as they tried to pump medications in him to bring it up.   

In the last few days, he has been retaining more and more water.  We're now seeing him retain 2-4 liters over a 24-48 hour period, something that used to take 2 months to happen.  Just yesterday they removed 5 liters of water from his belly, which only took 2 days to accumulate (see photo below).

The doctor here who did his stent surgery wants to see him in his clinic, as he feels that he can help my father.  Kaiser has done over a dozen biopsies and still cannot tell us what is wrong with my father.  They keep telling us it is "inconclusive."  Meanwhile this new doctor says he's seen four spots on my father's liver, would recommend a metal stent that would last two years instead of two months, and would like to do some investigation into the blockage to see if they can find out exactly what's wrong and make some improvements to my father's health.  It is wonderful to have a doctor that doesn't write off my father for dead...except...

Kaiser does not cover any non-ER care for my father outside of its Northern California service area.  Kaiser is even debating covering some of the emergency treatments he's been receiving since he was admitted to the ER here.  He is too sick to return to Northern California for treatment; he has had sepsis that is still not cleared after two weeks.  If we have to return him to California for care, he may not even make it back in his condition.

I have looked into him formally moving residency to Washington and getting a new health plan here that will cover care here, since he is now stuck here.  But currently on his Kaiser plan, he is maxed out on out of pocket (which is easy to do with one or two surgeries).  If he picks a new plan here (even if it's Kaiser), all deductibles and out of pocket starts over again on the new plan.  We know he'll need one more surgery within the next two months, so before the end of the year he would max out again.  And then when 2018 rolls around, everything resets again.

I am helping my parents and we are saving up for 2018's health care, which there's no way around if he survives the year.  However, in order to get him care in Washington without risking his life taking him back to California, we need to somehow switch him over to a Washington plan and be able to handle the premiums and out of pockets if they reset over the next three months.  This is the only way to get him to see the doctor he needs to see while he still has a chance.  Switching him now would bankrupt my parents, which is why I'm hoping GoFundMe can help them.  I want my dad to have a chance and while it's embarrassing to have to ask others for help, I feel that if we do nothing over the next 3 months, he will die for sure.

My goal amount is what it would take to cover premium and out of pocket for a plan in Washington over the next 3 months.  

Thank you for reading.

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Victoria Dollbaum 
Lake Stevens, WA
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