Orange County

OC 3-Year-Old to Undergo $1 Million Heart Surgery in Boston

An Orange County toddler is in Boston on Wednesday for a complicated $1 million heart surgery that Anthem Blue Cross apparently refuses to cover.

Three-year-old Noah Connally was born with an underdeveloped left ventricle -- a condition called Hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

"We found out when I was 20 weeks pregnant. We were asked to terminate. That was never an option for us," Noah's mother, Niccole Connally, told Boston's WBZ-TV.

Noah had his first surgery in utero and has since gone through two open heart surgeries. From the outside, he looks perfect, but, in fact, he is very sick, WBZ reported.

"Noah only operates on 80% oxygen. We feed him primarily through a G-tube. He's limited in his speech, clearly because he's not getting 100% oxygen. He's delayed in other areas," his mother said.

Boston Children's Hospital can reconstruct Noah's heart to make it fully functional, but Anthem Blue Cross in California won't pay for the procedure.

"Anthem Blue Cross of California is committed to providing our members with access to quality and affordable health care services and support to help manage their health needs. Anthem Blue Cross' provider network includes many nationally recognized facilities that excel in treating patients with challenging, highly-complex medical needs. Many insurance products, including network based HMOs, do not cover services performed by providers that are not in the insurer's network, regardless of medical necessity, unless services are not available in network," a company spokesperson said in a statement to WBZ.

Niccole Connally says the insurer "offered us a third stage surgery which will lead to transplants in Noah's future. We're not willing to give up the best for their mediocre opportunity." Niccole said.

"We can have heart surgery in California, but we can't have this heart surgery in California," she said. "I just want what every mom wants. I want my son to outlive me. This is the surgery he needs, at Boston Children's."

The Connallys, both teachers and parents of five, are praying for a successful 10-hour surgery Thursday and asking for help paying the million-dollar bill.

They have set up a GoFundMe page, and posts updates on their Facebook page, Pray for Noah's Heart.

If you would like to donate to a GoFundMe account set up for Noah Connally, you may do so here. Note that GoFundMe deducts 2.9 percent of all funds raised, plus 30 cents per donation, in the form of payment processing charges.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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