Family struggles to pay daughter's medical bills

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)- A seven month old with a hole in her heart and a heartbroken family looking for answers.

It's an all too common story. A battle for insurance with a life on the line.

Local 8 News Reporter John Treanor talked to a family in danger of becoming a casualty in the war for health care.

Brian Jirinec says, "She's my world, I love my daughter. she's the best thing that's ever happened to us."
what did the doctors tell you? Audrey had a heart condition."

That news came two weeks after Brian Jirinec retired from a real estate job, walked away from the benefits and moved to Tennessee.

His seven month old has two holes in her heart..her artery is closing...and he doesn't have the coverage to fix it.
Now between breaks in Mickey Mouse, names of surgeons, doctors, donors, anyone that can help.
A one hundred thousand dollar tab looming.

"Its right there, we've been told surgery is so easy to get we can say we need it now and get it tomorrow...its just money 48

The Jirinecs are stuck. Hostages in the middle of a political war over health care.

They can't get insurance because little Audrey has a pre-existing condition. They've been told they made too much money for TennCare.

In an election year with health care a heated debate Audrey's life is a political talking point. But all too real.

"It's scary because politics aside this could be the end of my daughters health care come January."

While the health care debate continues the Jirinecs aren't waiting.

They're scheduling a life saving procedure at Children's Hospital and preparing for a bill they can't afford.

And some good news since we started investigating this story.
TennCare called us back and said they will work directly with the family to try to find a program they qualify for.

Meanwhile, the Jirinecs are setting up a fund for donations at local ORNL branches under the name of their daughter Audrey.


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