Liver transplant recipient anxiously awaits critical medication

Liver transplant recipient anxiously awaits critical medication
(Source: Kristin Williamson)
(Source: Kristin Williamson)

WALKER, LA (WAFB) - A woman who lives in Walker who thought she was in a life-threatening situation is now breathing a lot easier.

The medicine Kristin Williamson, 35, has been taking for more than a decade was running out and she was told her insurance was no longer going to cover it. She was diagnosed with an autoimmune deficiency 12 years ago.

"My mother-in-law actually noticed I was jaundice. My eyes were yellow and hadn't been feeling well at all and she said you need to go to the hospital," Williamson said.

After more than a month of treatment, she said she got the scare of her life.

"My sister was visiting with me at the time and she was washing my hair and trying to make me feel better while I was there [at the hospital] and I coded," Williamson said.

After they resuscitated her, doctors told Williamson she needed a new liver. She was placed at the top of the organ donation waiting list and said she had a liver transplant just 82 hours later. The surgery was a success.

However, to stay healthy, the now mother of two, must take Prograf twice a day. The medication suppresses the immune system so that her body can function with the donated organ.

"If I do not have it, my body will fight off the liver and reject it because it's not mine," Williamson said.

Williamson said her prescription has always been covered under Medicaid, but she said, this year, something changed. She said her insurance was transferred to Medicare, which provides prescription coverage under Aetna.

Williamson said she had been out of the medicine for three weeks. Since then, she and her liver transplant coordinator at Ochsner Hospital had been trying to figure out why the medicine was not covered under the new plan.

"Three weeks later and it's still processing. How? Why? What's the reason? I've never had to go through processing like this before," Williamson said.

Williamson said her doctor was able to get her a three-day supply, but she took her last dose on Sunday. She feared if her prescription is not refilled soon, her liver could fail.

"I mean, this is my life. I was given a second chance already and I don't want to lose this liver," Williamson said.

On late Monday afternoon, Williamson got the call she had been waiting on for weeks. She said her transplant coordinator called with word her medication was approved by Aetna.

There is still no word on what may have held up that prescription.

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