Saturday, May 02, 2009

Patients band together to save a home

E-patient Dave sends me this article about a kidney cancer patient who was going to lose his home because of mortgage problems. His story was told on one of the kidney patient web sites, and his electronic friends got involved. Result: Mortgage company backs off and works out a new payment plan.

In real time, here's how it felt, per the patient's note on the list-serv:

I am in disbelief. We were clearing the dishes and the phone rang. I thought it was our local news station calling for the scoop but it was our mortgage case manager Eric Whitelow. First thing he said was "Mr. Kontarinis, you sure have a lot of friends!" And we went on and restructured the mortgage!!!!!!!!! All it took was a 10 minute call and our house was saved.

I am speechless. Thank you so much. You are pitbulls and I am forever in debt for your time. Thank you!!!!!!!! My entire family owes you.

I am just stunned.

Says the patient to FoxNews: "I am mentally and physically exhausted after this fight, but I have an amazing newfound belief in humanity," he said. "One thing cancer has taught me is how good people can be — these were strangers. I believe in the power of people."


e-Patient Dave said...

Awesome. Thanks for posting the story, Paul.

This is another inspiring example of what patient communities do for each other. In this case it was the [KIDNEY-ONC] listserv on

Paul didn't say so, but this happens to be a patient at BIDMC, on the same unit where I got my treatment. I visited him a few weeks ago. He's been reacting (ahem) spectacularly to the Interleukin treatment that I too received, and that's a good sign.

When I was being treated two years ago, the housing slowdown had just started, and my previous house was sitting on the market, eventually for 17 months, spanning my case from diagnosis to "all done." That house was headed into foreclosure but my friends and family put on a fundraiser and came up with $18,000 so we could accept the only offer we'd gotten, which was less than we owed on it.

It's amazing what people will do to help each other. Angelo's uproar shows that, my story shows that, and the "let's do a Beth Israel" story shows that.

Like Angelo, I believe in people.

Anonymous said...

This cyberspace phenomenon is interesting and perhaps revolutionary. I have seen it in other venues, such as when the town of Buffalo told a gardener she had to convert her front yard garden to lawn. It was posted on a gardening blog, and the town was deluged with thousands of complaints; subsequently backing off (while becoming environmentally educated as well.) Maybe it's a sort of modern replacement for being put in the stocks in the public square when you misbehaved.
At any rate, bless the good samaritans, and I hope this patient responds as well to the IL-2 as e-patient Dave did!


Unknown said...

Sorry for the off-topic.

Mr. Levi,
being inspired by your blog and your interviews found on YouTube, I would really appreciate to hear your opinion regarding building a career in Healthcare for a person with no medical background.

With 6 years experience in management consulting and 4 years of managerial experience in Telecom both in Russia, I’m on my way to shifting my career to Healthcare and I’m planning to move to US. My aspiration is HC consulting and Hospital management.

Currently I’m considering options of getting a part-time MBA in HC in order to obtain knowledge in both HC and US specific. With part-time and HC criteria, only a Baruch college ( and Boston University ( seem to be feasible.

What would be your recommendations? What schools and jobs can be a best start for me?

Thank you very much in advance.

Anonymous said...

Please send me an email at plevy [at] bidmc [dot] harvard [dot] edu.