Health Network Case Studies

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Rosa Morales

3 months pregnant with cervical cancer

This winter MCN received a call from the American Cancer Society requesting assistance in getting services for Rosa Morales (not her real name), a pregnant migrant woman at the end of her first trimester. Rosa has cervical cancer.

Rosa, a 36 year old Mexican woman, migrated to the US eight years ago in search of a better life for herself. Rosa is one of the 12 million undocumented immigrants residing in the US. Rosa found a job at a fast food restaurant in California where she met her husband, Frank. He worked harvesting grapes. Frank is here with legal authorization. Frank and Rosa now have two US citizen children and they move periodically in search of better work. The family currently resides in Tennessee.

In July of last year, Rosa got a Pap smear at the local health department. The results were abnormal. The health department assisted her in getting a colposcopy that confirmed the presence of cervical cancer, but they had no resources to help her get treatment. Due to the diagnosis, her contraception shots were no longer permitted. Rosa soon became pregnant. Treatment for her cervical cancer is not an option for Rosa until she delivers the baby. Moreover, her cancer makes her a “High Risk” pregnant woman who may only receive care from an ob-gyn physician, as opposed to receiving care at the local health department. The health department and the American Cancer Society could not find a provider to care for Rosa. Few providers would care for a high risk pregnant woman without insurance. And Rosa’s family simply doesn’t earn enough to pay for her healthcare or her insurance.

Frank is hardworking man who now makes a living at an automobile parts factory. He grosses $400 a week. But after taxes, health insurance payments (for himself and children) and child support to another a son from a previous marriage, Frank brings home $105 a week. Rosa does not qualify for his health care benefits. The family earns too much to qualify for food stamps or Medicaid. There is simply not enough money to pay for Rosa's care. When MCN contacted Rosa and asked about her diet, she cried and explained that often there just wasn't enough money to pay for food. That night she was not cooking anything for dinner.

Through MCN's Health Network Program, MCN offered the strong advocacy and groundwork needed to get Rosa healthcare. MCN located a local ob-gyn doctor who agreed to see Rosa for the set amount of $1200. MCN worked to find the funding for Rosa. Harvest of Hope, a national foundation contributed $300 for the first office visit. A local church donated $300 for the second visit and $100 for the ultra sound (the original price was $600 and MCN negotiated lowering the rate). An anonymous friend of MCN donated the reaming $600 for the complete pre-natal care. With the help of the social worker at the health department, MCN also arranged for the delivery of food and clothing for this family.

Thank you for helping MCN help Rosa and family!


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