University of Wisconsin–Madison

Archive: Dr. Josh Mezrich Reports on Patient Purposely Incarcerated to Get Life-saving Surgery

Madison, Wisconsin – One patient went great lengths to receive life-saving surgery, Joshua D Mezrich, MD reports.

Mezrich recalls the 41-year-old man who had been incarcerated that came to see him. While in prison the man got in a fight, which led to a CT scan. He hadn’t broken anything, but the scan did surreptitiously show two aneurysms. Both were in his hepatic artery (the artery that feeds his liver). They were small, so doctors kept an eye on the aneurysms without doing surgery. But the next time they checked, they had nearly doubled in size.

The man was referred to a surgeon at a different hospital than the one Dr. Mezrich works at, and underwent an angiogram, to see the aneurysms better. The surgeons there said that he was sure to die if they did not intervene, and that they should schedule a surgery within the coming weeks. Fortunately for the man (or so he thought) he was released from prison one week later. When he returned for his pre-op visit, though, he was told that since he’d been released from prison, he no longer had insurance to cover the operation.

He asked what he should do. They told him to figure out how to get insurance…

To read the full story in The Atlantic, please click here.