Coma patient denied food by insurance company

CREATED Mar 10, 2014

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NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Southwest Florida family is turning to FOX4 with a controversial case.

They say their daughter has an agonizing distinction.

Currently she's longest surviving coma patient in Florida after a horrible accident in 2000.

Now, they say she almost lost a critical link to life.

Imagine this - your daughter is in a coma. Has been for 14 years.

Then, all of a sudden, the insurance company, the same one that's paid for her medical supplies all that time says, we're no longer paying for her food.

That's what a North Fort Myers woman says happened to her recently.

"This is not something that the American people should be calling quality medical care," said Teresa Schlosser, the young woman's mother. 

14 years ago, at the age of 18, Sara Hall was riding in a car when it went underneath a semi at 60 miles an hour.

She's been in a coma ever since.

At the time she was taking medical supplies to her brother who had been paralyzed from the neck down in another car accident just two weeks earlier. 

"Sarah is a diabetic and requires for years to be fed through a peg in her stomach, through a tube, Glucerna everyday," explained Schlosser.

Last month, she says that because of changes in insurance companies, Sara quit getting her food.

"They assured me in letters all through this that they sent me that all of her pharmaceutical needs would be met no matter what program she was under," she said.

"And as soon as these other programs started taking over, suddenly she was not eligible to receive food and I had to start a fight to get food".

When asked how long that took Schlosser said, "It's been now right at a month that I had to go through the process".

Schlosser says the insurance company changed Sara's food, which she had been getting for 14 years, to a classification called 'durable medical goods'.

"That's the classification they put on it as if it were a bed pan, drain sponge," said Scholsser.

When asked if she was worried the insurance company may never pay for food again Schlosser said, "I was extremely worried".

The problem has now been corrected but she's worried about it affecting others. "If this is the system that has been put in place for our most disabled, then it is doing the most disabled in our country the biggest disservice," Schlosser added.

FOX4 attempted to get information from the insurance company but it said; "HIPPA privacy laws prevent us from commenting".