Insurance company backs off on refusal to pay boy's cancer treatment
Company cites 'extenuating circumstances' in 5-year-old Bruno Lopez's case
A Mexican couple living in Quebec faced with the daunting task of raising $200,000 to treat their son’s cancer after their insurance company cancelled their policy say those costs will now be covered.
Their insurance company, Travel Insurance Coordinators, told CBC News it reviewed that decision and it will cover the boy’s treatment because of “'extenuating circumstances.”
The Escalera-Lopez family came to Quebec City four years ago to study at Laval University, bringing with them their now five-year-old son, Bruno.
The ordeal started in May, when Bruno complained of a stomach ache.
“I start touching his belly, and he had a bump, something here like a mass,” said Sandra Escalera.
That mass turned out to be a 1.5 kilogram tumour on her son’s kidney. The boy spent two days in intensive care following the surgery to remove the mass, and five days on oxygen because his lung collapsed during the procedure.
But when the family took their son out of the hospital for the day to get some fresh air on the advice of his doctor, their insurance company deemed he was well enough to travel back to Mexico and should be treated there.
The family’s policy only covered emergency medical treatment, which didn’t include the weeks of ongoing chemotherapy Bruno would need.
“Normally, once the emergency is over and they are deemed stable to travel, people return to their home country for treatment in their own familiar environments. In this case, Bruno’s family chose not to return home once Bruno’s condition had stabilized,” a statement from the insurance company reads.
Bruno’s doctors contacted the insurance company, insisting the boy needed immediate treatment. His parents appealed the policy cancellation and learned yesterday that the company decided it would cover their son’s treatment up to the policy limit of $500,000.
“I haven't slept. I haven't been eating. It has been very, very hard on us,” said Escalera.
Bruno’s parents say they’re relieved they can now devote 100 per cent of their attention to their son’s care and not an insurance battle. But the future is still uncertain for the family.
They will find out today if the cancer has spread to Bruno’s bones or brain.