Native Americans Denied Health Care The Ta’Shon’s Story but much money for illegals?
This little girl from the Crow Nation, Ta'Shon Little Light, died after the IHS told her family that abdominal pain was "all in her head."
CROW AGENCY, Mont. - Ta'Shon Rain Little Light, a happy little girl who loved to dance and dress up in traditional American Indian clothes, had stopped eating and walking. She complained constantly to her mother that her stomach hurt.
When Stephanie Little Light took her daughter to the Indian Health Service clinic in this wind-swept and remote corner of Montana, they told her the 5-year-old was depressed.
Ta'Shon's pain rapidly worsened and she visited the clinic about 10 more times over several months, before her lung collapsed and she was airlifted to a children's hospital in Denver. There she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, confirming the suspicions of family members.
A few weeks later, a charity sent the whole family to Disney World so Ta'Shon could see Cinderella's Castle. She never got to see the castle, though. She died in her hotel bed soon after the family arrived in Florida.
"Maybe it would have been treatable," says her great-aunt,
Ada White, as she stoically recounts the last few months of Ta'Shon's short life. Stephanie Little Light cries as she recalls how she once forced her daughter to walk when she was in pain because the doctors told her it was all in the little girl's head.
Ta'Shon's story is not unique in the Indian Health Service system, which serves almost 2 million American Indians in 35 states.
On some reservations, the oft-quoted refrain is, "don't get sick after June," when the federal dollars run out. It's a sick joke, and a sad one because it is sometimes true. Officials say they have about half of what they need to operate, and patients know they must be dying or about to lose a limb to get serious care.
Wealthier tribes can supplement the federal health service budget with their own dollars. But poorer tribes, often those on the most remote reservations, far away from city hospitals, are stuck with grossly substandard care. The agency itself describes a
- ƝɨѕhҠѡeLv 79 years agoFavorite Answer
ibu guru is so full of it, hand him a shovel so he can dig himself out of the pile.
He has NO idea what he’s talking about.
All he is interested in saying is "Woe is me, I'm so downtrodden, As a taxpayers, ”I” paid for all of her medical bills."
Only a low life, would even suggest parents want their child to die, simply so they can leach off taxpayers. What Bullsh!t.
If this was a Non-Native child, he would be outraged that the doctors didn’t refer the child for complete diagnostic tests which would have determined the child’s problems. He wouldn’t be claiming one medical service facility is superior to another and it’s the parents fault for not choosing the superior facility.
The Native American Clinics “IS” where they go to see a doctor. The clinics “Purchase the Services” of the medical professionals that staff the clinics.
The medical professionals are paid for their services. Not only do they have access to an expanded patient/client base, they get free facilities for their medical practice. Anywhere else they would have to pay for their facilities
The problem lies with the “Bureau of Indian Affairs” (BIA) run “Indian Health Services” and their chronic underfunding. The BIA is the self-appointed “Trustee” of the Tribal and Individual Indian “Trust Funds”, which fund all Native American services. The tribes have to beg BIA to allocate adequate funding from their own “Tribal Trust Funds” for tribal services.
Here are just some of the problems with the “Indian Health Services”
Ta'Shon's story is not unique in the Indian Health Service system. Officials at the health service say they can't legally comment on specific cases. But they say they are doing the best they can with the money they have — about 54 cents on the dollar they need.
One of the main problems is that many clinics must "buy" health care from larger medical facilities outside the health service. The money for those contract health care services is rarely sufficient, forcing many clinics to make "life or limb" decisions that leave lower-priority patients out in the cold. "Doctors every day in our organization are making decisions about people not getting cataracts removed, gall bladders fixed."
Chairman of the Standing Rock tribe, says his remote reservation attract or maintain doctors who know what they are doing. Instead, he says, "We get old doctors that no one else wants or new doctors who need to be trained."
A 2008 GAO report, along with a follow-up report this year, accused the “Indian Health Service” of losing almost $20 million in equipment, including vehicles, X-ray and ultrasound equipment and numerous laptops.
PROMISES, PROMISES: Indian health care needs unmet
One-third more is spent per capita on health care for felons in federal prison then on Indian health care.
The truth of the matter is as “taxpayers” Native Americans should have access to the same quality medical services that Non-Natives do. All medical services, regardless of location, should be of equal quality.
- 9 years ago
I have several opinions regarding this story.
I feel for the family....I really do....BUT, every Indian in the US knows how substandard the care is, that is given by the IHS. So if they truly felt there was something wrong with their daughter, they should have sought other means of help. As a mother of four, I do NOT let doctors get anything over on me, or toss around their diplomas when it concerns my children. I AM their mother, and I know when something is wrong, even if I do not know what. If I wasn't satisfied with the care I was getting under one agency, I would sell everything I own to be able to get to another. There is no way a doctor would be able to convince me that my child's pain was all in their head, without offering an explanation for why they are imagining pain.
They are not that far from two other hospitals, and countless clinics, in Montana cities. I suspect there is more to this story than you have presented.....but I do not feel like watching the video right now.
Does something need to be done about the standard of care in IHS facilities. Yes.
"patients know they must be dying or about to lose a limb to get serious care"
Doesn't that apply to all Americans, who are low income?Source(s): Ojibwe...not a Native American
- ibu guruLv 79 years ago
They are US citizens and could do the same thing any other citizen, resident, whatever, does instead of going to a small taxpayer-funded clinic: make an appointment, go to a doctor, and pay the bill! It's the parents' fault they refused to take the child to any hospital, doctor, whatever. They wanted to leech off taxpayers and only went to a clinic, not a physician. There are plenty of docs, hospitals, etc, in Montana, and they could have taken the child to good facilities in any number of cities or towns around the state. Did not need to go as far as Denver, if they had taken their child promptly. Instead, the parents waited until their child collapsed - taxpayers paid for air ambulance to Denver. By that time, it was too late.
While type of cancer is not given, from the description of symptoms, & rapid progression, there probably was NO chance this child was going to survive. If the parents had taken her to hospital earlier, perhaps they could have prolonged her life. Certainly the parents could have spared their child a great deal of pain. But this is pretty likely to have been a virulent, fast-acting cancer.
That child did not die because taxpayers provide a free clinic on the reservation. The child died painfully due to parental neglect and a nasty, probably incurable, illness.
- Anonymous7 years ago
IBU guru is a wimpy loner
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- Brother HesekielLv 79 years ago
She did not die because of money issues, but because she was misdiagnosed.
This tragedy has nothing to do with money and nothing to do with illegal aliens at all.Source(s): The son of a German mother and a Swedish father, I have lived in 6 European countries before immigrating to Southern California two decades ago. I work as a corporate attorney in Santa Barbara and answering questions here is my way of giving back.
- Anonymous9 years ago
So you lied, you said denied, but just had a crappy doctor.