Jamie Cardow has just months left to live.
“It’s a terminal cancer so I was told it’s six to eight months,” Cardow said.
The 56-year-old was diagnosed with stage four mesothelioma three months ago.
It was caused by excess exposure to radiotherapy in 1988 when Cardow was 23 and had radiation to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“Even at the time they were saying it was a lot, they told me it was as much radiation as they tend to give people,” he said.
Cardow’s sister Helen Kerrigan has moved in to care for him as he battles cancer again.
Immuno-therapy reduces his pain and could prolong his life but it costs about $300,000 a year and he’s paying for it out of his own pocket.
“I’m trying to sell everything I have,” Cardow said.
In August ACC wrote to Cardow saying ACC cover for the cancer was approved.
“We’re pleased to tell you that your cover for the following injury is approved: mesothelioma of pleura,” they wrote.
The following day ACC told Cardow the treatment costs should be approved immediately but he said when they realised how much it was they back-tracked.
“ACC have been trying to find ways to avoid making the payments for treatment,” Cardow said.
His family believes ACC is stalling because once Cardow dies they won’t have to pay.
“People in their last months of life shouldn’t be fighting ACC. It’s atrocious,” Kerrigan said.
Before the immuno-therapy, Cardow was unable to walk, he was in crippling pain and could barely move.
But he can only afford three more weeks of the treatment.
“The thing that scares me the most is the pain coming back,” Cardow said. “There’s no point extending your life if you’re going to be in that much pain.”
“Before the medication watching him in pain was just horrible,” Kerrigan said.
A pain his lawyer is trying to prevent, he’s filed legal action against ACC for “unreasonable delay”.
“If he doesn’t get treatment, unfortunately, he’s going to die soon in some pain,” lawyer John Miller said. “Seems to me ACC would rather spend money on outside lawyers than focus on the treatment for Jamie.”
A life-changing treatment that’d give Cardow more time to say goodbye.
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