Katie Donovan and Dalton Prager, both suffering from cystic fibrosis, found each other through social media.
They exchanged messages on Facebook. She told him that “my breathing is pretty crappy and I see you are in the hospital. I’m sorry. I know it sucks!…But you just gotta stay strong.”
After a lengthy chat between the two, they decided to meet.
But sicknesses got in the way. Due to fear of infection, patients suffering from cystic fibrosis aren’t advised to be around each other.
Dalton told Katie he had Burkholderia cepacia, an infection commonly seen in people suffering from CF.
“When we were deciding whether to meet up or not, I told Dalton I’d rather be happy — like really, really happy — for five years of my life and die sooner than be mediocre happy and live for twenty years,” Katie said.
“That was definitely something I had to think about, but when you have those feelings, you just know.”
Contesting the recommendations of her pulmonologist, Dr. Michael Anstead, she met him.
Two years later, they got married.
On August 2014, when Prager had passed his infection to Donovan, they entered the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Prager underwent lung transplant on November 17.
UPMC discharged Donovan a month after Prager’s operation, since going outside would be beneficial for her. However, upon returning, she was informed that she’d exhausted her supply of Medicare, because of which UPMC couldn’t accept her.
Consequently, she began treating with Dr. Anstead at the University of Kentucky Hospital.
Dr. Anstead, unable to provide a transplant, requested UPMC that they pay for Donovan’s care despite being out of state.
According to CNN, Gwenda Bond, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, wrote in a statement, “Medicaid policies allow for a simplified enrollment process for out-of-state providers in such situations.
“Should UPMC reverse its decision and choose to enroll as a Kentucky Medicaid provider, the Department for Medicaid Services… will be happy to expedite their application.”
Not only will Prager weaken if he doesn’t get a transplant, he will not be able to approach Donovan, as she could pass other infection that could interfere with the treatment he receives through drugs.
“I just want to make it to see our four year anniversary in July and be able to hold hands and just hug. That’s all I really want — to be able to hug my husband on our fourth anniversary,” she said.
Zeller, spokeswoman for UPMC, wrote an email she sent to CNN, saying, “Ky Medicaid has reached out to us to talk. So stay tuned.”
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