A 17-year-old boy from Lancaster, California is suspected to have died from complications related to the Novel Coronavirus, after an urgent care facility refused to treat him because he didn’t have health insurance.
The California teen had no previous health conditions, according to Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris, who confirmed the 17-year-old’s death in a YouTube video posted by the City of Lancaster. In the video, Parris reminded viewers to continue practicing social distancing and taking the global coronavirus pandemic seriously.
Parris also illuminated how abruptly the teen fell ill. “The Friday before he died, he was healthy. He was socializing with his friends,” Parris stated in the video. “By Wednesday, he was dead.”
When the teen went to urgent care on March 18, staff at the facility denied him treatment for his lack of health insurance and directed him to the local, public Antelope Valley (AV) Hospital.
“He didn’t have insurance, so they did not treat him,” Parris said in the video.
As the teen was on the way to AV Hospital, he went into cardiac arrest. Although they were able to revive him for six hours at the public hospital, they were unable to save his life.
“By the time he got there,” Parris said, “it was too late.”
Parris also mentioned the necessary measures to take when a COVID-19-positive individual begins to have a fever and respiratory issues. “[When] you have trouble breathing, you’re short of breath and you have a fever, that is the time to get medical treatment without delay.”
Initially, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health deemed the cause of the teen’s death to be complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. However, the department has since retracted the classification, announcing on Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will further investigate the 17-year-old’s death, in spite of having tested positive for COVID-19.
“Though early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality,” read a statement by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “Patient privacy prevents our offering further details at this time. “
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rises, so do concerns over how much Americans will pay to receive treatment. According to a study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the predicted cost for individuals without health complications is $9,763 for receiving coronavirus treatment. By contrast, a person with health complications is predicted to pay $20,000 for treatment.
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