A new mother in Las Vegas was denied a lung transplant because her insurance wouldn't cover it, according to reports.
Gabriela Acuna contracted COVID-19 while pregnant in August and has been in and out of the hospital since, her family said.
The family is now pleading for help raising $2.5 million to cover the surgery on a GoFundMe page.
A Las Vegas mother sick with COVID-19 was denied a lung transplant in the weeks after giving birth because her insurance wouldn't cover the costs for the procedure, according to reports.
Now, her family is begging Nevada Medicaid to "waive their magic wand" and "not let insurance be the grim reaper of this new mommy" on a GoFundMe page set up for her medical expenses.
Gabriela Acuna contracted COVID-19 in August, while she was pregnant, and was admitted to Centennial Hills Hospital on August 30, according to WKBN. Her sister, Paula Olmeda, wrote on the GoFundMe page that Acuna held off getting vaccinated until she could have an appointment with her OBGYN.
"The week she had her appointment to ask for OB's blessing, she got COVID," Olmeda wrote.
The Centers for Disease Control issued an "urgent" warning last month for pregnant people to get vaccinated, and says that compared to those who are not expecting, pregnant people who catch a symptomatic case of COVID-19 have a two-fold risk of admission to intensive care and a 70% increased risk of death. Misinformation around COVID-19 vaccines and infertility has fueled distrust in the vaccine among some pregnant people, but the vaccines are safe for them.
Olmeda wrote on the GoFundMe page that Acuna was denied entry to the emergency room three times while struggling to breathe until finally, they "had no choice but to take her." Doctors delivered Acuna's baby by emergency C-section on September 13, according to WKBN.
Acuna has been in and out of the hospital several times since contracting COVID-19, WKBN reported. Olmeda told the news outlet that her sister has had a tracheotomy, that her lungs have collapsed multiple times, and that she's gone into cardiac arrest.
Eventually, Acuna was approved for a lung transplant at the University of Southern California, according to The Daily Beast. As a helicopter arrived on October 6 to transport her for the procedure, it abruptly turned around as Acuna's family said they were informed that Nevada Medicaid does not cover lung transplants.
"It went from 'Your sister is going to get safe' to 'Your sister going to die' in a couple of seconds," Olmeda told The Daily Beast. "It was almost like a joke."
Nevada Medicaid did not immediately return Insider's request for comment.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe set up for Acuna's medical expenses had raised more than $61,000 of its $2.5 million goal. Olmeda wrote that if Acuna's family can find a doctor to perform surgery pro-bono, they'll donate the money they raise to other people that need organ transplants.
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