CREATED Jun. 24, 2013
NAPLES, Fla.- An Indianapolis family is stranded in Naples after their daughter got sick while on vacation. The family discovering their health insurance won't cover the cost of a medical airplane needed to transport their 18-year-old daughter back home.
Lacy Ross won't leave her sister's side. The two have spent weeks inside an ICU room at Physicians Regional, more than a thousand miles away from home.
"It's really scary. She's my little sister so it's terrible. I feel so sad and helpless because I just want her to get better," said Ross.
Lacy's sister, 18-year-old Maddie Ross, became sick just days into a vacation to Naples. The family is visiting from Indiana. Maddie has spina bifida and while on vacation got sick.
"They took her down for a cat scan. They did chest x-rays and saw she has aspiration pneumonia," said Maddie's mother, Paula Strauss.
The only way Maddie can leave the Florida hospital is by medical plane. The family has insurance, but it won't cover the cost.
"It's frustrating. First you think you're safe. We didn't think this would happen. No one prepares for someone to get ill and be in the hospital," said David Strauss, Maddie's father.
Volunteers with a non-profit, Grace on Wings, have agreed to help the family out and provide a medical plane needed to transport Maddie. They're a charitable air ambulance service based in the Midwest.
"They pay for everything, the plane. It's a flying ICU room. The only thing they don't provide is the fuel cost which is approximately $10,000 dollars," said Strauss.
The family came up with the $10,000 dollars through donations including money from friends and family. The family will bring Maddie home on Tuesday.
The CEO and pilot for Grace on Wings says 90% of patients they transport have insurance, but those insurance companies won't pick up the cost of a medical plane. Insurance companies see it as a "convenience." Grace on Wings has helped more than 240 patients.
To learn more about how you can help families and Maddie visit: www.graceonwings.org and click on "Donations."