Alicia Bazemore is an energetic 4-year-old whose favorite game is books. The only thing that indicates she is any different from other children looking at her is the dark circles under her eyes.
Alicia has polycystic kidney disease. One of her kidneys no longer functions as it should.
Alicia pointed to one side and said “good kidney” and the other and said “bad kidney.”
“I want to go play,” Alicia said after identifying her stuffed animal, “cat.”
Beth Bazemore, Alicia’s mom, said she has taken her to several doctors for her condition and continues to have problems with how the problem has been addressed.
Bazemore said Alicia will run high fevers, vomits, has hypertension, pain and frequent urinary tract infections.
“When I ask for removal, they say, ‘give me a reason,’” Bazemore said.
Most of the medical expenses that have been incurred Bazemore must cover herself.
“I did have Medicaid, but they canceled it and reinstated it, and I can’t get private insurance on her because it’s a pre-existing condition. Nobody will cover it.”
The tests, medication and doctor visits have taken a financial toll.
“You watch your child go through this and you’re going through financial difficulties trying to help her. I was normal middle class when my child was born,” Bazemore said.
She said finding a doctor who will listen to her has been a battle. She has found one at Emory University Hospital in Decatur but getting her child to Atlanta is another story.
“What put us in the financial situation that we’re in are trips to Atlanta, trips to Augusta,” Bazemore said. “I got a new pediatrician — they did tests that they chose to listen to what they were saying versus what I was saying.
They’re not at my house watching my child (vomit). They’re not at my house when my child is burning up with fever, but when I call the doctor’s office, it’s always something.
“She knows she’s got kidney failure. “She knows it’s her left kidney. The problem is if you don’t take the left kidney out of her body it can spread. The right kidney is at 95 percent, but it does have scarring and small abnormalities.”
Bazemore has researched Alicia’s condition, but said that when she speaks with the doctors, they use medical terminology and don’t explain it to her, and she feels they dismiss her research.
“I’ve given the doctors my research. I’ve called the doctor’s office several times,” she said. “I requested removal, and they said, ‘give me a reason.’ My child is sick. She has a dead organ in her body — that’s not enough for you? She’s being poisoned from the inside out — that’s not enough? Why can’t they say the surgery costs too much money, instead of giving me an excuse and telling me surgery is dangerous, too? Well, leaving a dead organ in my child is OK?
“That’s going to kill her versus you doing surgery and being liable for killing her? You’re giving her a death sentence by leaving the organ in her body versus trying to remove the kidney and help. When an organ fails, it is supposed to shrink. It’s not doing what nature intended it to do. It needs help.
“She had a bacteria infection in her blood. When I asked if it was related to the kidney they may as well have (shrugged). We’re not 100 percent sure.”
Bazemore said she has requested all but one ultrasound that has been performed on Alicia.
“I want to see what’s going on in my child’s body,” she said, adding that at one point the largest cyst in her body was two centimeters. “It’s frustrating.”
To assist with medical costs, an account has been created at BB&T where donations can be made.