Eric and Veronica De La Cruz

Eric and Veronica De La Cruz

Above is my friend, Veronica De La Cruz.  We met and worked together at a TV station in Arizona.   She made my life incredibly easy as an executive producer with her super human work ethic.  She has been an extraordinary example of the young professional woman to my daughter.  Now Veronica works at one of the major cable news outlets in New York, and I’m so proud of her.  You would think with such a resume she’d be personally unscathed by the sort of stories that detail health insurance standing between life and death.

She’s not.

Her brother, Eric, has severe dilated cardiomyopathy.  His heart has become weakened, enlarged and incapable of pumping blood efficiently.  The decreased heart function affects his kidneys.  He’s only 27-years-old and cannot get health insurance because of a preexisting condition.  His kidneys are not doing the job of filtering out toxins from his system because of his heart.  His creatinine levels are high, and he keeps retaining fluid.

The diuretic-type meds the doctors have him on are no longer working.  The doctors have basically done all they can to help him.  Eric’s age makes him a great candidate for a heart transplant.  Unfortunately, because of where he lives they will not put his name on the transplant list.

He lives in Nevada where there are no transplant centers.  Because he has Nevada Medicaid, they will not put him on a list to have a heart transplant in another State.

It’s a broken system.

Eric’s case is pending in the Nevada courts, and in true bureaucratic apathy, he’s scheduled to be heard in a year.   This is time he does not have.   Eric isn’t asking or expecting more from the Federal program than if he had lived in a different state.

Veronica has asked I help spread the word about her brother’s situation.    Here’s a form letter requesting Senator Harry Reid’s help:

Senator Reid:
Thank you, in advance, for review of my email. It has come to my attention that a young man, Eric De La Cruz, age 27, who resides in your State of Nevada is in dire need of a heart transplant. He is dying. His sister, Veronica, is doing all she can to help her brother however, she is caught in the red-tape system in Nevada. Can you please review and do whatever is possible to help Eric De La Cruz get his needed heart? He needs Medicare Disability. The link below is a picture of Eric and Veronica and his story. I feel it important that this be personalized as nobody is more important to Eric’s cause right now…than you.

Eric has been turned down for the heart transplant list because he is on Nevada Medicaid, only accepted in your state and there are no transplant centers in Nevada. He needs to get to California under the Medicare Disability program. He has been rejected twice and the next appeals hearing is one year from today. CAN YOU HELP? Can you help escalate to get Eric De La Cruz to the forefront of the Medicare Disability committee so that his approval can be reviewed as he is going to die otherwise. 27 years old is far too young to die, Senator Reid. Eric has Severe Dilated Cardiomyopathy with an EF of 15%. His kidneys are having trouble because of his heart. His creatinine levels are high, his blood pressure is very low and he keeps retaining fluid. The diuretic-type meds the doctors have him on are no longer working (Lasix, Dijoxin, Aldactone, Coreg, etc). He is currently on three different IV’s.

Please help. Please contact his sister, Veronica De La Cruz


Senator Reid can be contacted here:
If you prefer to snail mail here are a couple more addresses:

Senator Harry Reid
Carson City
600 East William St, #302
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: 775-882-REID (7343)
Fax: 775-883-1980The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Telephone: 202-619-0257

If you would like to keep abreast of the situation, you can follow Veronica’s twitter here:

Another link here:

And even a facebook group here:

We are our brother's keeper.

We are our brother's keeper.


16 thoughts on “Lean on Reid

  1. You’re right about the system being broken.

    Today’s office hours were split 60/40.

    60% insurance hassles.

    40% seeing patients.

    Eric and Veronica are in my thoughts.

    Single-Payer now!

  2. Great article, fantastically well-written and clearly heartfelt. I applaud you for helping bring attention to this worthy cause and am sure your efforts will go a long way toward helping Eric receive his heart. Nice job and best wishes.

    • Thank you, Tim. All of this is very humbling. Caring is humbling. I appreciate your confidence. In fact I used it in part to generate the follow up.

      Best, Melissa

  3. that’s heartbreaking. i wish eric the best. has veronica considered writing to someone like ed schultz? he covers health care issues a lot, and he might use eric’s story as an example of how health care is failing so many people in this country. there are so many stories like this one, and people just don’t know about them. they don’t realize how screwed up things are and how they might be next.

    • I think the governor of California follows her on twitter. He could prove relevant. I’ll forward this all to Schultz…see if anything happens. Thanks so much!

  4. How does one read this story and not be sickened? These are fellow Americans! Broken indeed! And to think that this only a single example among many thousands of American citizens who will lose their lives or have them profoundly compromised as the direct result of our government (and the insurance companies it answers to) placing profit first. It’s beyond outrageous.

    • Yes, Octafish. It staggers the imagination considering the examples we do hear…i.e. all in America–the child that died of an infected cavity, the girl that died after being denied a liver transplant, the woman that died on the emergency room floor while other patients, a nurse, and a security guard looked on and did nothing.

      I don’t want to end up writing that sort of story.

      Thank you.

  5. How thoughtful of you, Melissa, to honor Veronica’s request to help spread this touching story. It’s way past time for an overhaul of the current healthcare system, where the value of human lives take center-stage. Hope all is well. Keep up the great work in providing an interesting place where others may stop in to learn from your thought-provoking content. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • Thank you, Al! This is lovely, “the value of human lives take center-stage.” It makes me think more deeply about the “life” in “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

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