A Denver mother whose son died after she was unable to fill his multiple prescriptions because pharmacists kept telling her he was not eligible for Medicaid — even though records proved he was — has filed a lawsuit against the city and county of Denver.
Zuton Lucero-Mills said she called Denver County Human Services several times a week in the spring and summer of 2009 after she tried to get 9-year-old son Zumante’s asthma medications at Walgreens and was told he wasn’t eligible for Medicaid.
No one resolved the computer glitch. Most of Lucero-Mills’ calls weren’t returned.
Her son’s asthma worsened after several months of being off the anti-inflammatory drug Advair, which kept the disease manageable.
The boy died in July 2009. He fainted at his home after telling his mother he couldn’t breathe and then died a few days later at Children’s Hospital when he was taken off a ventilator.
A few months back I got into a discussion with one of the libertarians on tumblr. “What if [SCHIP and medicaid] were never passed and those programmes were never created?,” they smugly asked, “How sad the parade of tiny coffins must have been.” They said this without irony or malice: people don’t seem to understand that the direct result of not having a provider to pay for this kind of care did, does and will in the future lead to dead children. Cutting benefits can kill.
Of course that’s a moot point in this case: he was entitled to benefits, and was still denied them. I truly hope this woman wins the lawsuit. It won’t bring her boy back, but it will help prevent it from happening again.