Croatia rips CHOP over costs to save girl

Nora Situm, 5, of Croatia, was scheduled for leukemia treatments at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia after thousands of people raised about $600,000. Supporters got upset that more money might be needed.
Nora Situm, 5, of Croatia, was scheduled for leukemia treatments at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia after thousands of people raised about $600,000. Supporters got upset that more money might be needed.
Posted: February 07, 2013

"Shame on you Hospital and whole America!"

"You can not be so arrogant as Croatia can be generous!"

"How can you be so cruel????!!???????"

"America has always been laughing matter in entire world with their 'pay for health' policy . . ."

"Go f--- yourself!"

The Facebook page for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was overflowing this morning with nasty comments related to the case of a little Croatian girl with cancer.

Nora Situm, 5, has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, according to reports, and, to try to save her life, a campaign in the economically distressed Balkan country collected contributions from thousands of people, raising $600,000 to pay for experimental treatments. ( See the campaign's Facebook page.)

Nora was scheduled to arrive at Children's Hospital on Friday, and hopes were high.

Then came word that another $237,000 would be needed - allegedly because CHOP raised the price - triggering fears the treatments could be denied.

The extra money, though, rather than a surprise hike, may simply be an estimate for continuing expenses during the months ahead, and will be covered by the city of Zagreb, according to the Croatian daily newspaper Vecernji list.

After repeated requests, Children's Hospital finally responded late this afternoon but declined to comment about any specifics in the case. CHOP said it treats many children from around the world and does its best to estimate costs before hand so that families can plan. 

"We know how invested the family, friends, and the community at large is in ensuring CHOP provides the best possible care for all of its patients," said a hospital spokeswoman.

"Acute lymphocytic leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children, and treatments result in a good chance for a cure," according to the Mayo Clinic's website.

Helping fuel the animosities could be cultural differences, since Americans are familiar with enormous medical bills, while Croatians are used to free health care.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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