Trying to find a way
Published 11:41 pm Monday, June 25, 2007
By By Lydia Grimes – features reporter
Austin Lindsey lives with pain every day.
Austin, a 14-year-old Brewton resident, was born with congenital coxavera, a condition in which his left hip joint doesn't make the right connection with his leg.
A simple surgery could correct the problem, but several obstacles stand in his way: He needs gastric bypass to help him first lose weight , but his insurance company won't pay for it. So his parents, Lavon and Carmen Lindsey, are looking down every avenue to help Austin needs to help him live a normal life.
One of Austin's legs is shorter than the other, and he has always experienced knee pain that prevented him from participating in school activities.
But when he was 13, Austin awoke one morning screaming in pain because of his hip. His family doctor referred him to two physicians in Pensacola who took X-rays to find the problem.
It seemed like simple surgery, but other problems stood in the way. Austin was told he needed to lose some weight before doctors could do the surgery, and the best way to do it was to have gastric bypass surgery first. He had gained weight, which was giving him other problems. He had sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism and was insulin resistant, which means he stores all of his intake, making him gain even more weight. Eventually he could become a diabetic and have even more problems.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the insurance the Lindseys carry, does not cover gastric bypass surgery for children under the age of 18.
Dr. Jonathan Southworth at the Brewton Medical Center began to do some research for the family, and he found that there is a hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, which specializes in gastric bypass for adolescents.
That hospital could perform the surgery for Austin, but there is another catch. The hospital isn't a non-profit facility, and the surgery is very expensive.
The Lindseys had an appointment in Cincinnati, but before they even left Brewton, they were told the insurance company had denied the claim.
A teacher comes to the Lindseys' house twice a week to tutor Austin, who will be in the ninth grade next year. His mother continues to try to get the surgery approved by their insurance company
If she doesn't succeed in getting the insurance company to change its policy, friends and neighbors have decided to help all they can.
Donations and gifts to the fund have totaled around $3,500. That is nowhere near what the family needs, but there is a community yard sale fundraiser planned for July 7, beginning at 6 a.m. at Burnt Corn Creek Park.