Doris Lewis didn’t think she needed health insurance. The 59-year-old grandmother lost her health coverage a few years ago, following the death of her husband. But she felt fine. Then, about two months ago, she began receiving a painful lesson in why obtaining health coverage is a good thing.
A tumor began growing in her abdomen. And it grew at a rapid rate.
“I didn’t know it was a tumor in there. I thought I was just gaining weight at first,” Doris Lewis, of Atlanta, told TV station WSB. But it didn’t take long before the uninsured woman’s belly had swelled to the point where it appeared that she was at least eight months pregnant.
Doctors told her that the tumor was benign, but it was wrapped around her ovaries and was growing so large — bigger than a beach ball — that it was bound to cause other health issues.
“It’s getting bigger every day,” she told WSB. “I can feel it on my body. My heart hurts a little bit.”
But she went to one hospital to get surgery to remove the bizarre growth. Then another — and another. In fact, Doris Lewis went to four hospitals and all of them told her to take a hike. Why?
Under the new “Obamacare” health care law, she attempted to obtain coverage, but was told she missed the recently passed deadline. The state of Georgia refused to adopt the new health care law’s provisions for expanding Medicaid, so Lewis may not qualify for that type of coverage either.
“I’ve been trying to get insurance for the longest, but had no success,” the woman says.
Her worried daughter, Sarina, says, “I don’t know how long that she has to be able to live with this thing in her.”
Now, it looks like she will not have to find out how much longer she is able to live with the tumor. The pain became so insufferable recently that she called 911.
Paramedics took her to Emory University Hospital in midtown Atlanta. There, a compassionate doctor told her that she would get her surgery — on the house.
“It would feel great, now, if I could get it out today. Right now. It would be a blessing,” Lewis says.
A surgery date for Doris Lewis is set for June 10.