After struggling with medical ordeal and insurance delays, woman finally awaits transplant

Penn Live | David Wenner

Heather Carlock's life revolves around awaiting her "new normal." It will involve a lifetime of dietary restrictions and medications and probably adoption rather than pregnancy.

But it will be a relief from the pain and uncertainty that overtook Carlock, 35, after her colon inexplicably shut down following back surgery in 2012. Since then, one disabling medical episode has followed another, requiring removal of her colon and small intestine, and causing her to spend months in the hospital.

Things had begun to look up last year. She was approved to receive a new small intestine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In September, she and her husband, Colin, moved to Pittsburgh to be near the transplant team.

But on New Year's Eve she received terrible news. Her employer, Clipper magazine, had changed health insurers after being sold. The new insurer withdrew authorization of her transplant, causing UMPC to put her waiting list status on hold. Continue reading