Client Story: Fighting for a Child’s Health
As told by NLSLA client Dong Gou
When our daughter Esther was one month old, she became seriously ill. She’d been very healthy since her birth, but then suddenly she was unable to eat, unable to keep anything down. At first, my wife and I thought it was normal, but soon the problem became severe and our daughter started losing weight.
Every doctor we saw us said something different. One said she’d be fine, another said she needed surgery. We saw three doctors and talked another five, but no one could agree on how to help her.
My employer’s insurance didn’t cover our daughter after 30 days. We’d applied for Healthy Families, but the coverage did not take effect for several more weeks. We were without insurance with no place to turn. My wife and I frantically called everybody we could think of—friends, family, anyone.
Finally, we were told to call the Health Consumer Center at Neighborhood Legal Services. We spoke to a counselor over the phone who made us feel that finally someone was listening to us. She told us to take Esther to the emergency room. When we said we were worried because we couldn’t pay, she told us we could apply for Medi-Cal right there.
The doctors took our daughter straight to the ICU. We were told she needed an operation to repair her stomach. We stayed by her side day and night until she was well enough to go home.
Esther is now fine. Her follow-up exam was great and she is once again a healthy, happy baby. My wife and I are grateful we got through that terrible week. When we think how alone and afraid we felt—NLS helped us when no one else could. They even followed up with Medi-Cal after the operation to make sure that everything was taken care of.
We don’t know what would have happened without NLS. That one simple phone call saved our daughter’s life.