Man sues hospital to cover liver transplant

Published Sept. 4, 1998|Updated Sept. 13, 2005

Robert Adamo says he will die in 11 months if he doesn't get the liver transplant denied him by the insurance coverage from his employer _ the nation's largest hospital company.

Adamo, who has hepatitis C and a malignant tumor in his liver, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., claiming the company improperly denied him coverage.

"It's pretty scary when you have to work with people who could have anything and they (Columbia) won't cover you for what you need," said Adamo, 47, of Boca Raton.

Lawyers for Adamo, an ultrasound technician at University Hospital in Tamarac, say Columbia's insurance used to cover transplants. But Adamo's policy was changed in January to exclude organ transplants for everyone except children with a rare liver disease, they said.

Adamo claims he was never told of the policy change, which his lawyers say is a violation of regulations on employment benefits.

Attorney Nathan Nason has asked for a judge to declare that Adamo's insurance includes money to pay for the transplant procedure.

Mark Edwards, an attorney for Columbia, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also names the Columbia Lifetime Benefit Choices Program and Humana Insurance Co. of Florida, identified as the plan administrator. Humana officials confirmed Adamo's plan does not cover transplants but would not comment further.

Adamo, who has worked at the hospital five years, said he discovered he had hepatitis C in 1996 when he was treated for an odd pain in his side. He does not know how he contracted the virus, that can lead to liver disease, cirrhosis or cancer.

Report: Youths storm

bus to stab teenager

WEST PALM BEACH _ A group of youngsters stormed a school bus Thursday afternoon and stabbed a high school student in the thigh, apparently part of a dispute over a boyfriend, a school official and parent said.

Crystal James, 15, a student at John I. Leonard High School, was rushed to St. Mary's Medical Center where she was being treated for stab wounds, WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach reported.

No one was immediately arrested, and the incident remained under investigation, said Nat Harrington, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County schools.

"Apparently two or three students rushed toward and maybe even on a school bus and allegedly attacked a student who was getting off the bus," he said. He would not confirm the name of the girl who was stabbed.

The girl was stabbed three times in the thigh, and the injuries were not life-threatening, Harrington said. He did not know the weapon used.

Marvin James, who told WPTV he was the victim's father, said the children had been fighting over "minor issues."

"It was boyfriend-girlfriend," he said.

James told the television station he had reported the tension to school authorities earlier this week. Harrington disputed that.

Woman steals ambulance

for jail visit, police say

LAKE WORTH _ Loretta Fuller was desperate to visit her husband in jail, but she didn't have a ride.

So she jumped into an ambulance that was idling in front of a hospital emergency room and drove herself 8 miles to jail _ where both she and her husband were behind bars Thursday, police said.

Fuller, 44, was being held in lieu of $3,000 bail after being charged Wednesday with one count of grand theft of an automobile.

She apparently commandeered the red and white ambulance that was left running outside JFK Medical Center in Atlantis after she went into the hospital seeking a ride to the jail, police said.

It was unclear why she was at the hospital.

Her husband, Jeffrey, has been in the Palm Beach County Jail since being arrested Aug. 11 on a shoplifting charge, said sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera.

The ambulance was found parked outside the jail, and Fuller was inside at the visitor's lobby, Barbera said.