Christmas 'Miracle' Saves Infant's Life

Julie Ryan Evans

Seth PetreikisFor all the heartbreaking, horrifying news out there of children being abused and neglected, a recent good news story deserves some recognition. Seth Petreikis has faced some major health issues in his short six months of life. After having open heart surgery when he was 2 1/2 weeks old, he was diagnosed with Complete DiGeorge Syndrome, which basically means he has no immune system and would likely die before his second birthday.

Fortunately, there's a surgery that could give him a good chance at life -- a thymus transplant, which has about a 75 percent survival rate for those who undergo it. Unfortunately, even with such impressive rates of success, it's still considered experimental, and Medicaid in Indiana refused to pay for the operation that can cost up to $500,000. Seth's parents had no private insurance, and it seemed Seth's fate was sealed.

It's impossible to imagine knowing there's something that could save your child's life, but that you are unable to provide it for him. The feelings of helplessness and injustice are unimaginable.

"Oh my goodness, we cried," Petreikis told the Associated Press. "We just thought that hope is lost and we now just have to sit and watch our baby die."

In an amazing show of compassion, however, the insurance company who manages Seth's Medicaid and had to make the decision to deny the procedure, MDwise, decided to pick up the tab.

"I was stunned, elated. I cried. I thank God," Becky Petreikis told the Associated Press. "This is truly a Christmas miracle."

Are you crying yet?

In a time when insurance companies get such a bad rap, this is an amazing show of generosity and compassion. As is the money that poured in after Seth's story was publicized. More than $147,000 was donated from those who heard Seth's story in just two days. Now that the cost of the operation has been covered, the family plans to use it to lobby for the procedure to lose its experimental status so other families won't have to face a similar plight.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as fortunate as Seth, but what a truly great example of how humanity can triumph over bureaucracy. A true gift this season for everyone involved, and for all who celebrate their story.

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