Roughly six years ago, Westchester Medical Center reached out to our pediatric home care agency, asking us to provide central line infusion therapy in a home care setting for a child named Dream Shepherd. Most pediatric private duty nursing assignments focus on delivering treatments with neurological and respiratory involvement. The rarest of cases, require nurses to work with an immunocompromised patient receiving experimental treatments due to a hematologic disease. In this instance, the hematologic disease was Sickle-Cell Anemia.
Working with a central line has its challenges, individuals with central lines, are at great risk to acquire Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSIs). In hospital settings, only Registered Nurses who have been trained and certified are able to work with these patients. The possibility of infection are high and the results of these types of infection are no less than dire.
Dream Sheppherd’s insurance carrier had informed Westchester Medical Center and Dream’s mother, who never had any medical experience, that nursing was not warranted for Dream’s condition, and that the mother was responsible to deliver nearly 14 hour of daily therapies for her medically fragile child, alone. Imagine being a single parent, never spending a day in healthcare, working a job all day, and then having to treat your immunocompromised, medically fragile child overnight. Imagine the exhaustion, stress, and fear. Now imagine your child’s temperature drastically spikes within minutes and your child’s blood pressure nearly instantaneously bottoms out. Your child is in shock and is about to die, and you are all alone.
This exact scenario has played out, countless times in New York State and through out the entire United States. Parents watching their children die before them, not because of a tragic accident or incurable malady, but because insurance said “No”. This was the reality we all were living in, until David Carlucci got involved.
Over the course of the next several years, Senator Carlucci fought tirelessly for every inch, against one of the strongest lobbies in Albany and in Washington. Many elected officials have attempted to champion this cause before, to fight against the insurance lobby on this exact issue. They all failed. We all have compassion in our hearts and stories like this make us all angry and a bit disillusioned. Not everyone however has the position and station to do something about it. Even those with political stature can be rendered ineffective by a lobby as entrenched and powerful as the insurance lobby.
As citizens we should all be thankful that this common sense, life saving legislation is the new law of the land. Yet as constituents and business owners of the 38th district of New York State, should we be surprised? Not in the slightest bit. Senator David Carlucci has been fighting and more importantly, winning for his constituents for the last ten years.
More than ever, we need David’s brand of leadership. In a time where identity politics, social unrest, economic uncertainty and the continued spread of Covid plagues our minds and airways- We need a proven leader who is highly energetic, compassionate and effective. David has shown in his legislation and contributions he is above labels or labeling. To be truly effective in Albany, like David has, you need to be bipartisan and speak to the individual-not the party. Focus on the solution, don’t wallow in the problem. Lead from the front and never concede your principals. Senator Carlucci has demonstrated all of these qualities. He has been preparing for this position for the last ten years and will make Rockland and Westchester proud in Congress.