Raising Women’s Voices

Uninsured woman denied full-body scan after biopsy detects cancer

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on November 14, 2008

Mary Gannon, a 54-year-old temp worker in a doctor’s office, discovered a lump in her groin one day that was removed after it was determined to be cancerous.  Her surgeon recommended a full-body PET scan to detect the presence of lumps anywhere else on her body and to determine the stage of the cancer.

“That day, after she learned the biopsy results, Mary called the Excela Health-Mountain View Diagnostic Testing Center to schedule a PET scan…The information was crucial to planning her care.

The woman who answered the phone, Mary said, told her she wouldn’t schedule the $3,000 PET scan unless Mary had insurance. The woman told Mary to apply for medical assistance from the state…”

“…Driving to work from the mobile home became a 75-minute grind at rush hour. So Mary left the job where she worked for 11 years as a medical assistant – with insurance – and took the temp job near her new home.

For the first time in 20 years, she wouldn’t have health insurance, but she figured, “I’m not going to get sick.”

In June, Mary heard from the county assistance office, which handled her medical-assistance application.


Mary had no understanding of why she was denied.  She continued to work, wait and fret.

“It’s scary, not knowing what stage it’s in,” Mary said on July 18, referring to any cancer. Angered by the delay, Mary said, “It’s like I just sit and wait to see what’s going to happen next.””

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran this article today, as part of its series “Falling Through: Casualties of the Health Insurance Crisis,” chronicling the barriers this woman has faced to accessing the care she required to save her life without health insurance.

Via Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report.


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