Medicaid Matters for Kids: Hailey's Story
We were honored to have Hailey join us for Family Advocacy Week in 2019. We recently reached out to her grandmother, Dawn for an update as part of our Medicaid Matters for Kids Series.
Twelve years ago, Hailey had an unthinkable accident—she fell in the bathtub and broke her neck. This injury was the result of fused vertebrae in her neck, which had been present at birth, but had not previously been noticed by her family or pediatrician.
The accident left Hailey paralyzed from the neck down, unable to move her arms and legs. “The outcome was dire,” says Dawn, Hailey’s grandmother. “Hailey could barely move. She was put on a ventilator to help her breath, and doctors told us that Hailey would never be able to walk, talk or eat on her own again.”
But six years ago, Hailey began seeing specialists at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital and receiving physical and occupational therapy from therapists that specialize in working with medically complex children like Hailey. She has been making great progress, but perhaps the biggest triumph is that Hailey will have her tracheostomy tube removed this summer and will now be able to eat on her own again. She is also getting a new power wheelchair that will help her make mobility easier.
“These life-changing developments for my granddaughter wouldn’t be possible without Medicaid and I know that there are many families like ours that need assistance with the high cost of care for medically complex kids,” says Dawn. “That’s one of the reasons Hailey and I attended Family Advocacy Day in 2019. We wanted to share our story with our representatives on Capitol Hill and explain why it is important for lawmakers to protect Medicaid from cuts that could harm kids access to quality care.”
Today Hailey is doing great and continues to progress in so many ways. She was elected to student government this past year and has been active in helping plan school dances and other activities. She will start high school in the fall. “She has friends, family and is brimming with confidence,” says Dawn. “But most of all she has hope. Hailey is living proof of the great things that can happen when children have access to the health care they need. We are grateful for the support we have had from Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, Medicaid and so many others that have helped Hailey surpass expectations.”