91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Grand Rapids woman raises money for heart surgery after Spectrum rejects her for transplant

Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids
By WMrapids - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43948673
Butterworth Hosptial, a part of Spectrum Health, in Grand Rapids.

A West Michigan woman says she raised more than $11,000 this past weekend to afford a heart transplant after Spectrum Health rejected her from its transplant list.  

60-year-old Hedda Martin says Spectrum Health sent her a letter last week recommending she fundraise $10,000 for immunosuppressive drugs.


Screenshot of letter
Credit https://www.gofundme.com/hedda-elizabeth-martin-heart-transplant?fbclid=IwAR0T3TDhYNdGzIAEteejIJgwPnwf7px9mpfFnIUdi4iRvY3C3NiV5SfQUeo
Screenshot of letter sent to Hedda Martin.

Martin’s son started a GoFundMe campaign, and the campaign went viral after newly elected Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted about it over the holiday weekend.

According to a Facebook post from Martin that has since been removed, she has raised enough money for the surgery.

“I was given a challenge and I met it, so now there should be no reason to keep me off of the heart transplant list,” Martin wrote.

Spectrum Health sent this statement to Michigan Radio:

While we do not comment on specific patient situations to protect their privacy, Spectrum Health cares deeply about every patient that enters its doors and provides each of them the highest quality of care possible. While it is always upsetting when we cannot provide a transplant, we have an obligation to ensure that transplants are successful and that donor organs will remain viable. We thoughtfully review candidates for heart and lung transplant procedures with care and compassion, and these are often highly complex, difficult decisions. While our primary focus is the medical needs of the patient, the fact is that transplants require lifelong care and immunosuppression drugs, and therefore costs are sometimes a regrettable and unavoidable factor in the decision making process. We partner with our patients throughout their care and work closely with them to identify opportunities for financial assistance. Our clinical team has an ongoing dialogue with patients about their eligibility, holding frequent in-person meetings and informing patients in person to ensure they fully understand their specific situation.

The hospital has not said how often it recommends that patients fundraise in order to receive transplants.

Martin is still waiting to see if she will be eligible for a transplant, but she says if she gets one, it could extend her life expectancy up to 20 years.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
Related Content