On February 15, 2010, I posted a brief summary and link to the Denver Post story of the death of 9 year old Zumante Lucero who died because his mother, Zuton Lucero-Mills, was unable to get approval for his asthma medication. She just filed a lawsuit for damages against the city and county of Denver according to Allison Sherry's story in today's Denver Post.
Here's a quote from the story:
"Zuton Lucero-Mills said she called Denver County Human Services several times a week in the spring and summer of 2009 after she tried to get 9-year-old son Zumante's asthma medications at Walgreens and was told he wasn't eligible for Medicaid. No one resolved the computer glitch. Most of Lucero-Mills' calls weren't returned."
And more: "Lucero-Mills repeatedly tried to fill prescriptions at Walgreens. The county automatically generated paperwork after her continual calls and sent it to the family's home. It verified Zumante qualified for Medicaid — yet pharmacists said he wasn't in the system".
"Can it really be acceptable that in government, no one answers the phone?" said John Holland, one of Lucero-Mills' attorneys. "Who is responsible for nothing happening? Is it nobody? Is it God? Is it a computer? Or is it the people who didn't act?"
"At the time the Denver Post published the first story of Lucero-Mills' loss, Denver County Human Services called it a "tragedy" and ordered a review of call-center responsiveness. On Wednesday, Human Services declined to comment on the pending litigation, citing department policy".
My post in 2010 was entitled "The Saddest Colorado Benefits Management Story Yet". Can you imagine the anguish Zumante's mother went through trying and trying to get someone to untangle the computer glitches and get his prescription approved while all the time watching his condition deteriorate until he finally died? As I said at the time, this has to be the saddest story in the long history one of the worst botched-up computer systems ever. I'm glad a lawsuit has been filed. I imagine a jury will have no trouble deciding on who deserves justice in this case.
Oh, and by the way, I wonder if anyone associated with Human Services has put procedures in place to assure that another tragedy like this one never happens again.