Appeal for former fisherman hit by string of health problems
The family of a man airlifted to the US at the weekend after a series of major health problems has appealed to the public for help to pay for his medical bills.
John Pitcher, 53, has faced several problems, including heart trouble, diabetes and parasites in his blood, over the past two years.
Natalie Roberts, his sister-in-law, said that Mr Pitcher had rallied, but would still need to visit Boston for treatment – which could cost as much as $30,000.
Ms Roberts said: “John is still having heart issues – his body is holding onto fluids, he’s feeling chest pains and the nurse was actually giving him more medicine to ease him, so he desperately needs to go away.”
She added: “It’s a big family effort – everybody’s trying to put in as much as they can.”
She was speaking after Mr Pitcher was flown to the Lahey Hospital and Medical Centre in Massachusetts last Saturday.
Ms Roberts, who flew with Mr Pitcher, said that he was going through more tests to assess his health.
Mr Pitcher, a former fisherman and construction worker, has suffered several heart attacks, the first last January.
Ms Roberts said Mr Pitcher had suffered from diabetes since he was young and the illness had worsened over the years, which compounded his more recent health problems.
Ms Roberts said that Mr Pitcher had been on kidney dialysis since his first heart attack, which required long spells in hospital.
She added surgeons had put five stents in his heart and it was discovered that there were parasites living in his blood, though he did not know where he had contracted them from.
Ms Roberts said the parasites were cleared up by antibiotics.
She added that a checkup at the weekend showed that the parasites had gone and that he may no longer need dialysis.
But she said that, because her brother-in-law did not have health insurance, his family had paid for his hospital bills – and now had to turn to fundraising.
Ms Roberts said: “We helped out paying for hotels and paying for one of his sons to stay up there with him – he ended up staying out there for three weeks.”
The Pitcher family started a GoFundMe for Mr Pitcher, which has raised $4,050 over the last five weeks.
Mr Pitcher’s sister, Tracey Roy, and her husband held a potluck dinner at their Devonshire restaurant, Roy’s Fine Food, on February 18, which raised more than $4,000.
She added that the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association agreed to cover Mr Pitcher’s costs, but she was still waiting to hear how much the family would have to repay the organisation.
Ms Roberts said that they had also applied for the Government’s Health Insurance Plan and Financial Assistance for Mr Pitcher, but the plan would only cover 75 per cent of costs.
She added: “We still have a lot of questions that haven’t been answered, so we’re trying to get everything together and, in the meantime, try and raise money.”
Ms Roberts appealed for people to visit the GoFundMe page and donate.