This is a sad story that will infuriate you.
Summer Waltman, 23, was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and has suffered heart complications for most of her life.
She is in severe need of a heart transplant and is generally a good candidate. However, she has been denied.
She is also a good candidate for a medical pump that could extend her life from days to years. But she was also denied this option.
Why? Because Summer Waltman uses medical marijuana for pain management and comfort.
“It seems to me like they’re just sending her just to die,” Waltman’s cousin Andrew Babcock told a local CBS station in Sacramento, California.
And yes, medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996.
So, what is going on?
Her family feels it is Summer’s use of medical cannabis that led to Mercy General and other hospitals where she has been treated to deny the transplant and medical pump.
Melissa Jue, a spokesperson at Mercy General Hospital, said: “Patient care is our top priority and we respect the privacy of our patients and legally cannot discuss the specifics of their care. There are very strict criteria to qualify for specialized heart procedures.”
This, despite a 2015 California state law, the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act, which prohibits discrimination against medical cannabis patients in the organ transplant process, but doctors ultimately have the final say in determining if a patient’s cannabis use mixed with other factors could impact a transplant.
Andrew Babcock said Waltman had heart surgery when she was six-years-old, then 10 years later, she had a pacemaker put in.
After having had a baby last year, against her doctor’s advice, Waltman’s heart condition worsened.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), cardiologists go through dozens of tests and look at numerous criteria for major medical procedures, including the patient’s physical ability to handle a transplant or surgery and the environment in which they live.
Waltman had been seeking medical help in San Francisco recently but was transferred to Mercy General late Thursday where she’ll be kept comfortable.
With limited options and sensing her time is up, Waltman has been communicating via her Facebook page: “I hope I made an impact in some ppl lives. I’m sorry I did everything I could.”
Waltman’s most recent post: “I put up one hell of a fight.”
Yes, you did, Summer Waltman. Here’s hoping your brave fight will continue.