Noelle’s daughter Poppy was born with Apert’s Syndrome, a rare and complex condition that caused her fingers to be fused together. For Poppy to have full use of her hands, she needed very specialized reconstructive surgery. Noelle connected with a surgeon in Boston who specializes in this type of surgery and who was confident that he could give Poppy ten working fingers.

But Noelle’s health plan provider denied the request to use this specialist, citing the cost, and insisted that Noelle use a local surgeon. None of the experienced hand surgeons in Oregon felt confident that they could give Poppy ten fingers. The cycle of requests, denials, and appeals for Poppy’s essential surgery went on for three years, despite the Boston specialist waiving his fees to make the surgery less expensive. Noelle desperately wanted Poppy to have ten working fingers before she began kindergarten, and time was running out.

Luckily, Noelle found legal aid, and they began working on the next appeal together. Having an attorney step in to ask questions, request documents, and review processes made all the difference. Just before the appeal hearing, the health plan changed course and gave full permission for the surgery on the East Coast.

Now Poppy is thriving with ten fully functional fingers, just in time to start school. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the surgery, Noelle and Poppy threw a “birthday party” for Poppy’s hands and invited their legal aid lawyer to join the celebration.

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