After months of treatments and tests, insurance company won’t cover woman’s lifesaving transplant

MONROE COUNTY, Ga — A young mother is in a fight for her life, and a liver transplant is the only thing that can save her.

After months of treatments and tests, she qualified for the transplant list at Emory University Hospital. But now her insurance provider refuses to allow the surgery.

Erika Gidituri, 32, has one of the most aggressive cancers there is. It took five months for her to go through all the pretransplant protocols at Emory.

Now her insurer is demanding she start that process all over again at an out-of-state hospital.

The life expectancy of the cancer without that transplant is only six to 12 months. This is time she does not have.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray said watching Gidituri playing with her three young children, you wouldn’t know the Monroe County woman is even sick.

“My children, potentially leaving that at such a young age is scary. I’m fearful for them my husband, just leaving them behind,” Gidituri said.

After five months of chemo, radiation, MRIs and other tests just after Christmas, Gidituri met the protocols.

Her cancer hasn’t spread, and she could go on the liver transplant list at Emory University Hospital, where she’s been receiving all her treatment.

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“I was told that I was medically cleared for transplant, but not financially,” Gidituri said.

Her health insurance is a self-funded plan by Texas-based Zachry Group, her husband’s employer.

It’s a construction company hired as a contractor by a Georgia power plant in Juliette.

Zachry told Gidituri it won’t pay for the transplant at Emory.

Her sister, Alison McCoy, told Gray that she’s spent hours battling Zachry without success on the phone.

“It’s infuriating. Scary. Mad is an understatement. I don’t understand how this is even possible. It’s an impossible situation,” McCoy said.

Zachry told Gidituri she can only have a transplant at a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida — something they never mentioned over the past five months of treatments at Emory.

But that would mean Gidituri has to start many of the protocols to get on the transplant list all over again.

That will take months. Without that surgery, Gidituri does not have months.

“It’s not fair that they have the ultimate say in my medical treatment,” Gidituri said.

“If they told us in August, go to Mayo, you need to move to Florida, it would have been done. But that wasn’t the case,” McCoy said.

Gray has attempted repeatedly by email and phone to contact Zachry Group. They have not responded to any of his requests for comment.

Gidituri said she is heading to Florida for tests at the other hospital this week, but this is weeks and likely months of protocols she already went through — and there is no time to start over.

If the cancer spreads in the meantime, she’ll no longer be a candidate for a liver transplant.

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