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‘I was offered a .22 bullet’: Mom who shared son’s surgery bill online got deluge of death threats

 Ethan Chandra, 3, was born with heterotaxy syndrome, a birth defect that causes malformations in the organs 

A former pediatric nurse who shared her son’s surgery bill on Twitter as a reason to fight the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — also known as ‘Obamacare’ — received waves of support when her post went viral.
But then, as Alison Chandra wrote on Vox.com Friday, the death threats started and introduced her to “the darkness lurking in the savage corners of the internet.”
Chandra’s now-3-year-old son Ethan was born with a birth defect called heterotaxy syndrome, “a rare condition that can cause any of the internal organs to be malformed, misplaced, multiplied, or missing altogether. Ethan’s insides are a math all their own: two left lungs, five spleens, and nine congenital heart defects. It was his heart that had brought him to the operating room to have his chest opened four times in his short life.”
The bill she posted online was for a surgery totaling $231,115 in fees. Thanks to rules put in place by the ACA — President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement — Chandra was only charged $500.
She posted the bill and Ethan’s story on Twitter, only have it retweeted thousands of times. Calls and messages from reporters were pouring in, along with a great deal of support.
“But as more and more people saw the original tweet, the tide seemed to shift,” said Chandra. “I was still seeing lots of people on our side, but as articles were churned out and shared, it was clear that people weren’t reading much past the headlines. They came at me swinging, picking fights I’d never asked for. They called me ungrateful, a thief, a lazy mooch, an attention whore.”
The attacks grew “increasingly personal and increasingly violent,” she wrote. “Strangers were telling me it would have been cheaper to make a new kid, as if anyone in the history of the world could ever replace this bright light of mine, the boy who loves animals and can’t keep himself from kissing babies and always wants to sleep with one arm wrapped around my neck.”
“I was offered a .22 bullet, although I’m still not sure whom he meant it for, me or my child,” Chandra said. Right-wing commenters began spreading rumors that Chandra was “a foreigner or, worse, a terrorist” because a self-described “white girl from New Jersey” couldn’t possibly be named Ali Chandra.
She said she tried to reason with some of these angry attackers, but then realized they weren’t listening to anything she said.
“No one seemed willing to stop shouting long enough to realize that there was a real person on the other side of the screen, a mother who’s seen her baby go through hell and come out the other side four times now and who just wants him to have a shot at going to kindergarten too,” she wrote.
Then, she said, she was contacted by a mother whose child’s heterotaxy syndrome had never been properly diagnosed. Reading Chandra’s story online helped the woman find out the nature of her son’s illness and to connect to the community of other parents of children with the syndrome.
“It was like the sunrise after an endless night. My poor, beleaguered heart had been drowning in the fetid pool of the worst the internet has to offer, and suddenly I had been thrown a lifeline,” she wrote at Vox. “My focus narrowed back to what was important: my son, and the kids like him all across the country, the ones quietly living out their stories every single day with no fanfare and no media attention.”
With regards to the people who attacked her online, Chandra said, “I hope they heard me when I said I want to fight for something better for all of us, for those of us whose children rely on the protections afforded by the current laws and for those of us who are struggling under the system as it stands now.”

22 comments:

  1. Government wants you to fight over crumbs, but there are enough cookies for everyone. Without new taxes, there is enough tax money already stolen to give every good free health care.

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  2. ...Welcome to the real world...people can be evil asses...

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  3. Absolutely true.
    I have heard numbers of 20 years fully paid, top notch Universal Healthcare for every single American, could have been paid for with the money wasted in baby Bush and Monster Cheney's terrorism in the USA, Iraq and Afghanistan. ...not even including Pres. Obama's years.

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  4. Most those people aren't really "people" anyway... they are bots. And even if they are real people who gives a fuck what they think anyway? Don't feed the trolls. peace :)

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  5. But if you were a member of the Washington DC elite you would have paid ZERO. But then she is not one of those nasty politicians.

    Two years ago I need a double cataract operation and could NOT afford a Medicare Part A monthly vig OR their deductible and copay baloney. I went to the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland Ohio and got a world class eye surgeon, anethesologist and operating room charges and paid ZERO of a $22,000+ hospital and eye surgeon bill as I qualified for their Financial Assistance Program.

    Bozo care is not the end all to end all....sorry.

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  6. Great comment. All of us know that the decline in civil discourse applies to both sides. All of us know that there are sad stories of people who cannot afford the care they need and there are sad stories of people forced to pay for services they cannot afford to use because of the ACA....and behind all of these sad stories is legislation designed in secret by insurance lobbyists and for insurance lobbyists.

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  7. But if the govt starts taking care of American citizens, there won't be enough left to give israel a million and a half dollars every single day. And there won't be enough to create wars for the benefit of the weapons industry and arms dealers. Congress critters need those kickback$.

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  8. This is what Republicans do, sadly. They're vile, hateful beasts.

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  9. Not a word in this about why a few hours of surgery should cost as much as a nice house, which takes skilled craftsmen weeks to build. The Medical-Industrial Complex is the enemy, and whether an individual or the taxpayers pay their extortionate bills, they're still the enemy. Neither the left nor the right have a monopoly on assholes, and neither are offering any real solutions. The left thinks they should get something for free, the right is fed up paying the bills, and everyone is so frustrated by the non-solutions from Congress we could scream. Somebody fix this!!!

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  10. Appendix removal - Europe 650 USD - only as an example! In US it can cost your between 12000-200000 USD. Hail to the CEO cancer culture.

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  11. So what, we already know that Trump-tards are nuts. The rest didn't vote or voted for Trump and that might be 60%, in order not to get Hillary.

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  12. "God heals us and the doctor collects the fee" -Benjamin Franklin. YouTube: "Gregg Braden, bladder cancer cured in under 3 minutes ".

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  13. Glad to see someone who understands what we should all be angry about: The medical mafia and their protection racket. Either pay the exorbitant fees or die. We need reform of big medicine and big pharma, not another insurance company bailout. If medical care in the US was in line with the rest of the world, we wouldn't need insurance.

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  14. Even though it is now eight years old, I've never forgotten the Charles Hugh Smith blog from July 29, 2009 "The 'Impossible' Healthcare Solution: Go Back to Cash", which is approximately what you're saying. I especially remember the ad Charlie puts in the blog, a price posting from an upscale Santa Monica hospital for maternity care in 1952: http://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly09/healthcare07-09.html

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  15. Looks like you need some glasses.

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  16. Nixon allowed the medical system to become a medical industry by deciding 'profit was oooooookkkkk in 74. Its been all down hill from there for us and all UP HILL for profit

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  17. Looks like you could use a brain.

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  18. I like the solutions Robert David Steele suggests for making health care affordable. He's at phibetakappa.net and robertdavidsteele.com. The medical industry needs to provide a uniform price list, to begin with. One of the problems is that they charge at least 10x what their services are worth in a real free market, not the crony capitalist system that we've been suffering under for decades.

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  19. Love Robert David Steele -- read his book, _The Open Source Everything Manifesto_, several years ago and have been following his activities since. Really sorry he didn't get a top post in the Trump admin, but we can still hope :-) Also love who he's partnering up with now in #UNRIG, Cynthia McKinney, who I first heard of 25 years ago and donated to her Georgia congress campaigns even though I live in Oregon.... ooohhh, dirty out-of-state money!

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