URGENT! Save Matt Lewis' wife!
This is Michelle Johnson. My good friend Matt Lewis' wife Janell is literally fighting for her life. She needs to be medevaced to an out of state hospital right away to be saved. The procedure she needs is mainstream there, but impossible in Nevada. All her doctors agree. Various out of state hospitals with qualified care will take them if they pay cash. There is NO time to deal with insurance and paperwork, and they have a fight on their hands with red tape. We need to save her NOW and deal with insurance later. She needs to be on that plane, headed to a hospital with the right specialists. Literally within days. Tomorrow if possible. If this goes viral, we can do it. Don't think your help won't matter ... it really will. She just has to get there.
Several hospitals have said yes if they can pay in cash. GoFund me takes 5% of what we raise, so we initially set a goal of $131,250, which would give $125,000 to the Lewis family.
(Update 3_17_17: After a roller coaster of yesses and no's from various hospitals we finally have a YES from an out of state hospital, and the medevaced flight is being arranged now. However, they were told today that the aftercare is going to bring the cost to over $200,000. So I changed our goal to a more realistic 250,000 to cover the GoFundMe fees (7.9 % actually ... not 5%) and the after-care costs that have now been explained to them. Please do not let this deter you from donating. We WILL reach this goal. I am trying to get them what they actually need, and they are humbled and overwhelmed by the support so far.)
If you know me well, you know I lost a loved one to cancer ... I will never know if medevacing to UCLA sooner would have saved him. I ask that you open your heart and help one of the nicest and kindest families I have ever met. They have given SO much to others. It is time for them to be helped. This is a proud, beautiful family, and asking for help is not easy for them to do. I am helping my good friend. Please read Matt's own words below.
From Janell's husband Matt:
In my wildest dreams I never thought we would be in this situation. We have always had great insurance. When our rates more than doubled a few years back we went shopping for more affordable plans, with less benefits. That has not worked to our advantage.
My wife, Janell has been diagnosed with Pheochromocytoma. A "Pheo" is a tumor that forms inside the adrenal gland. Your adrenal gland sits on top of your kidneys. This is an extremely rare condition. Pheo's make your adrenals pump out massive amounts of epinephrine, making your body constantly feel as it if is in "Flight or Fight" mode. It also spikes your blood pressure to dangerous stroke levels.
On Sunday, February 26 Janell's blood pressure rose so high she began vomiting violently and we called 911. We've been in the ICU here in Las Vegas ever since.
She suffered damage to her heart, lungs, kidneys and brain. The doctors call her a miracle. They are amazed she did not come away with permanent damage.
She has been in the Las Vegas ICU for 16 days now. The hospital has not been able to stabilize her blood pressure. Mainly because there are no Endrocrinology surgeons in Nevada who have experience with Pheochromocytoma. Despite being pumped with massive amounts of Beta and Alpha blockers to control her blood pressure, she has been spiking daily to blood pressure heights of 247/113. Sometimes several times a day. I am sleeping by her bedside because it can take 10 minutes to spike and sometimes 15 mins for a nurse to respond. She is not safe here. The doctors at the Las Vegas Hospital agree and have escalated her to the need for a higher level of care.
We have found doctors at UCLA and a few other out of state hospitals who specialize in Pheo's and are willing to take her on as a patient. This surgery is very dangerous. It cannot be performed a general surgeon. There is not a surgeon and anesthesiologist in Nevada who has experience with Pheochromocytoma. That is why we must get to one of these hospitals.
So here's the problem ... my jacked up cheap insurance won't give a pre-auth for treatment to an out of state hospital, and those out of state hospitals won't accept her unless they know the insurance will pay the bill by pre-authorizing treatment.
No one is budging. We are basically stuck in ICU Hell. Meanwhile Janell is not getting better, she is actually declining in health.
I've tried to come up with every possible scenario. I've pleaded with caseworkers, admittance, insurance, social workers, doctors and the like. To no avail.
UCLA initially agreed to allow her to be admitted if we can make a cash payment of a whopping $125,000 for a week of stabilization, the surgery, followed by a week of stabilization. On top of that I have to personally pay for the ICU door to door ambulance and flight.
$125,000 seems impossible. But I believe in a God who can do impossible things. I believe my wife's life should be in the hands of experts who have done this surgery many times in the past 12 month. Healthcare in this country is screwed up. I don't care what side of the aisle you are on. The side I'm on is the beside Janell in her hospital room, watching her health decline while bureaucracies fight about where the money is coming from for the insurance I have already purchased.
I humbly ask you for your support. I am in a real hour of need. Janell is the love of my life and I have faith that the Lord will see us through this.
Also, today the Independent Journal Review just released the most comprehensive article of our story. It's full of pictures and video of our journey. We are so blessed to be on the other side of this whole ordeal. Thank you all for your donations, love and prayers. We could not have done it without you. The Lord has performed a miracle, that is for sure.
Here is the Independent Journal Review story:
The response to the gofundme campaign has been astounding and we can't thank you enough for the support. We want to give a quick update on Janell.
We solidified Janell’s acceptance to a specialist in San Diego. Janell has been transported to the hospital and the surgery is scheduled for Friday morning. (See short video attached). YOU HELPED MAKE THAT HAPPEN!
As you know, they required full payment upfront and so far, despite the amazing response, we haven't been able to raise that amount here in time. Time was of the essence, so we took a couple of emergency personal loans in order to make up the difference. We needed to act very quickly, and taking on massive debt pales in comparison to saving her life. We are keeping the gofundme campaign open to allay those expenses so we can pay back the debt. Please keep donating if you can, and spreading the word about this campaign and Janell’s situation. This could happen to anyone and we want to raise awareness about this issue.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support! You all have rallied together and we are incredibly grateful.
We promise to keep updating you as things progress. Thank you for continuing to donate and for continuing to share this story. We are grateful beyond what I can put into words. Just … thank you!
ANGEL FLIGHTS WILL GET HER THERE!!! They took my son from Philadelphia, PA to Cleveland Ohio for care at the Cleveland Clinic!! AMAZING Hospital!! N Angel Flights r truly angels!, Won't cost a dime!! Dealt w the insurance months later n guess what we won!! Ur ONLY focus should be in getting ur wife the medical care she needs regardless of $!!
This is to Michelle Johnson -- I don't know you, but I just have to tell you that you are amazing! Janelle and I were on our high school drill team together and I've always looked up to her and admired her a lot--I loved her and her family so much growing up, and we shared some great memories together. I was heartbroken when I saw what she is going through, and I love that you are doing this for her and Matt. I can tell by your videos that you are such a genuine, sincere person with such a big heart, and I wanted you to know that I think your an angel for them right now!
Ive shared to all news stations, Nevada governor, churches for prayer, white house. Great example of how horrid the health system is. Also angel west cannot help but gave information of another organization who might. I pray this keeps building for them.
I just had my kidney and adrenal gland removed due to cancer and other health issues at the Cleveland Clinic..Is this an option for her? Praying hard that she gets the proper medical treatment needed..I would definitely be consulting them for this condition..
Catherine Spencer I will answer your question about the $250,000 now. They got the exact information from the hospital and before they just set what they thought it might be. It was much higher and as soon as they have that money in the hospital's hands they can move her from the ICU in Vegas to that hospital. It should happen in a few days. It always costs more than you think at hospitals. Oh yes, I am Janell's Mother-in-law (Matt's Mom).
Matt I'm sure you have so much advise and have tried so many things. A friend of mine suggested the following after I posted your story. "Have him contact his insurance company and ask about a 'single case agreement' with the other hospital. At the UofM hospitals we do single case agreements all the time when an insurance is not covered. Cannot hurt to have them check into it. Prayers lifted for your friend and his wife.". Good luck my friend and God bless.
I've been reaching out to hundreds of thousands of Elvis Presley fans on fb - all over the world. I figure it's the right audience to help the Living "Elvis" save his sweetheart. I hope and pray it makes a difference. I'll continue to spread the word - thinking outside the box until your goal is met! Love You Janell! There isn't a thing in the world you've wanted and not achieved. This will be no different!
Prayers from above for healing and peace in your time of trouble! You are watched over! I am sorry for all you are going through