Insurance issue prevents 2-year-old girl from getting life-saving surgery

John Garcia Image
Monday, April 11, 2016
Girl needs life-saving surgery
Kimberly Alvarez, 2, needs a life-saving surgery.

ADDISON, Ill. (WLS) -- Kimberly Alvarez turns three later this week, but she's still learning how to talk. Her development is a bit behind because she spent the first two years of her life in a hospital.

However, her parents consider it nearly miraculous that she's still alive. The suburban Addison girl has had five surgeries in the past three years, and needs another.

However, it's not going to happen due to problem with her state-issued insurance.

Kimberly suffers from severe congenital scoliosis and other rare issues that make breathing nearly impossible without a special brace, which a Philadelphia doctor was able to equip her with. The brace basically keeps her ribs from collapsing around her lungs.

The issue is that she outgrows it and needs it replaced every four to six months. If she doesn't, she could die.

"It's not months, I know it's weeks for this device ripping out of her skin," said her mother Mayra Pasillas.

Kimberly is at least four months overdue for a new brace, but the hospital in Philadelphia has refused to do further surgeries because, the family said the state has yet to pay for the five previous surgeries, which totals several hundreds of thousands dollars.

"To see our state government fail this family is criminal, it's not right," Pete DiCianni, a DuPage County commissioner said.

DiCianni has been trying to intervene with state lawmakers and has helped set up private fundraising. However, he and the family said they don't have much time.

For more information about donating money for Kimberly's brace, visit the Midwest Council for Children with Disabilities' website at