When Kelly Baker’s 2-year-old son, Hudson, first experienced heart failure after a wicked case of mononucleosis last year, she learned to rely on her devoted support system. Teachers, students and parents at Lake Highlands High, where she serves as the Wildcat softball coach, and at Moss Haven Elementary, where she teaches P.E., contributed to a GoFundMe page created by her sister, Jayme, and coordinated meals and other demonstrations of love.
Hudson is a fighter, and he eventually became strong enough for removal from the ECMO machine and a trip home from the hospital. In December, though, doctors at Children’s Medical Center said the pacemaker keeping him alive had led to cardiomyopathy. A heart transplant will be required.
Now Coach Baker is preparing for a new fight. Hudson’s insurance providers have denied coverage for a transplant at Children’s in Dallas.
Hudson’s divorced parents are both public school teachers, and his insurance is through the Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Aetna. The closest “in network” option they have offered is Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, which requires the family to live one hour from the hospital while Hudson is on the waiting list for a heart. Baker would have to sell her home, quit her job at RISD and leave her support system behind.
Baker appealed the decision of TRS and Aetna, and her appeal was supported by officials at Children’s, where all of Hudson’s treatment has been covered “in network” until now. She received word Thursday that her appeal was denied.
“I just can’t believe that it takes this much to just try to get people to do the right thing,” Baker told NBC 5. “I mean, the right thing is to do whatever’s best for him.”
If you’d like to support the Baker family, you may visit her GoFundMe page here.