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Insulin-Free World Foundation: Opinion

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He Needs 2 Transplants---But 1 Isn't Covered

By Purvette A. Bryant

Medicare will help Randal Snyder get new kicneys. The problem is he also needs a new pancreas.

The Orlando Sentinel, Tuesday, February 10, 1998. Deltona -- Randal Snyder moved his family to Deltona four years ago with dreams of building a house and affording his teenage daughter the best education possible.

The 39-year-old construction worker sat Monday with an insulin pump attached to his belt and a dialysis tube inserted in his left side.

Snyder, who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 17, saw his dreams crumble the day after he, his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Amanda, moved from Savannah, Ga., in 1994.

He walked through the door with groceries, then collapsed on the living room floor, unconscious from a diabetic attack. Since then, a kidney and pancreas transplant has become his last hope for survival.

Despite his doctor's opinion that Snyder needs the double transplant to live, Medicare will pay for only a kidney transplant. The pancreas surgery, which is considered investigational, costs $55,000, Snyder said.

Yard sales and donations have raised $2,000 for his surgery, he said.

] "We ended up spending our life savings to pay our bills and rent," said Snyder, who had no health insurance in 1994 and was forced to seek help from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, to pay bills.

The University of Miami has evaluated and accepted him for a kidney and pancreas transplant, he said. The surgery would be followed by two to three months of follow-up care, which requires more money, he said.

Family members also have helped the couple with their rent and bills, he said.

A kidney transplant alone will do him little good, Snyder said. Without a new pancreas, his diabetes would destroy the new kidneys in a few years.

Barbara Snyder, 34, a home health nurse who cares for her husband 24 hours a day, said his medical crisis is hard on the entire family.

"The hardest thing is watching him lose weight," Barbara Snyder said. "I'd like to see him go a day without pain or sickness, a night where he's sleeping all right, a week without tow or three hospital appointments.

"We can't plan next week without knowing where he will be."

In a letter dated Nov. 5, Randal Snyder's physician, C.F. Brooke Smith of Deltona, stated that Snyder's condition is unstable and uncontrollable even with an insulin pump.

"It is medically necessary and vital that this patient have a pancreas transplant. It is also medically necessary for Mr. Snyder to have a renal transplant," the doctor said.

Amanda Snyder, a 17-year-old Pine Ridge High School student, said she wants her father to get better and stay busy to keep from thinking about his condition.

Donations can be mailed to the Randal Snyder ^Trust Fund, NationsBank, 1241 E. Normandy Blvd., Deltona, Fla. 32725.

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