Home | National | Alexis Shapiro, 12, needs gastric bypass surgery to keep her from death

Alexis Shapiro, 12, needs gastric bypass surgery to keep her from death

By
Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
  • Alexis Shapiro, 12,  feels like she is constantly starving due to the fact that her surgery to remove a benign tumor caused damage to her hypothalamus, instigating the development of hypothalamic obesity
  • She is home-schooled, has no friends, and has told doctors 'she wants to die'
  • Her mother Jenny Shapiro is afraid her daughter will 'eat herself to death'
  • Gastric bypass surgery will help her lose weight and may even help her brain from believing it is starving
  • She is on a restricted diet of between 900-1,400 calories a day and has a strict exercise regimen

By Alexandra Klausner

PUBLISHED: 12:55 EST, 28 December 2013 | UPDATED: 13:56 EST, 28 December 2013

0

View
comments

One 12-year-old girl from Texas had brain tumor surgery that caused her to become obese and she may die if she doesn't undergo an immediate medical procedure.

Gastric bypass surgery is the only procedure that can help her condition but the U.S. military, her family's insurance provider, will not pay for the $50,000 operation because 'she's too young.'

Alexis Shapiro is 4 foot 7 and weighs almost 200 pounds. Alexis feels like she is constantly starving due to the fact that her surgery to remove a benign tumor caused damage to her hypothalamus, instigating the development of hypothalamic obesity.

Alexis Shapiro is obese but feels like she's starving and needs gastric bypass surgery in order to survive

Alexis Shapiro is obese but feels like she's starving and needs gastric bypass surgery in order to survive

Alexis is on a restricted diet of 900 to 1,400 calories per day but despite controlling her food intake, she keep's gaining weight.

'Our reviewers have denied your request for Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass,' reads the rejection notice sent from TRICARE earlier this month.

Alexis' parents and doctors are asking that TRICARE reconsider their decision in order to save Alexis' life.

NBC news reports that Alexis is gaining two pounds per week. Alexis has been hospitalized for a kidney infection and she has developed type 2 diabetes and requires nightly insulin injections.

Alexis' pediatric obesity doctor, Dr. Thomas H. Inge of Cincinnati, believes that surgery is the only way to keep Alexis from gaining more weight which could top 400 pounds.

Gastric bypass surgery will do more that destroy the weight, it can also tell her brain that she is not starving and she may be able to curb her painful appetite.

After her surgery, Alex's parents had to take extreme measures to keep their daughter from eating herself to death.

'She’s always hungry,' her father Ian Shapiro said. 'In the past, we’ve had to padlock the cupboard.'

Two years ago after developing Craniopharyngioma , a rare type of brain tumor that grows next to the pituitary gland, Alexis had surgery to have it removed.

This is Alexis before she had brain surgery that caused her to develop hypothalamic obesity after doing damage to her hypothalamus

This is Alexis before she had brain surgery that caused her to develop hypothalamic obesity after doing damage to her hypothalamus

More than half of children with this specific form of tumor experience similar post-operative symptoms to Alexis.

'I think it is disappointing that they cannot see the facts of this case,' said Inge, of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

'There is no evidence that doing nothing would be in this child’s best interests,' he continued.

According to a spokesperson for TRICARE said that gastric bypass and weight loss services are only covered of the patient is or over and has full bone growth.

'In general, our Managed Care Support Contractors are required to approve or deny coverage based on TRICARE policy,' spokesman Austin Camacho said in an email to NBC News. 'We have an appeals process in place specifically designed to give our medical professionals the opportunity to examine the details of any special cases when coverage is denied,' said the insurance company.

Alexis may be a child, but she wears a women's size 1x or 2x and she goes up a size every month. When asked by psycologists about how she is coping with her condition, she has told them she 'wants to die.'

If Alexis gets the surgery she may be able to lead a normal life again and keep off the weight

If Alexis gets the surgery she may be able to lead a normal life again and keep off the weight

'She doesn’t have any friends or anything like that,'  her mother Jenny Shapiro said. 'It’s so sad, because she remembers what it was like before.'

Alexis is in constant pain and has begun homeschooling because she is afraid of going out in public.

Doctor's believe that if Alexis has Bypass surgery, she may have a chance of leading a normal life.

Kelsie Blackwell of Indianapolis, Indiana,21, had a successful bypass surgery when she was 18 that helped her lose 100 pounds after being diagnosed with hypothalamic obesity.

Unlike Alexis, Blackwell's surgery was covered by insurance.

Alexis' parents have begun to investigate other ways to raise money for their daughter's surgery. They created a Gofundme.com account to raise enough money to cover her daughter's lifelong health costs.

'These kids will literally eat themselves to death,' Jenny Shapiro said.

'That’s what I’m scared of.'

Read more:

MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS

MOST READ NEWS

 

 
 

Colorado News

Get the latest Colorado news, sports, weather, entertainment, business & political news and more from Colorado Newsday.
 
  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Rate this article

0
 
 

Photo Galleries

PHOTOS: Plastic Surgery Celebrity Awkward family photos 
 
UPDATED: Faces of Meth PHOTOS: Celebrities all a-Twitter

More galleries ››

 
 
 
  1. Spoiled’ teen takes parents to court (1.00)

  2. Terms of Service (0)

  3. Colorado Newsday Privacy Policy (0)

  4. Mark David Chapman sorry for being 'an idiot' but is denied freedom for the eighth time (0)

  5. Burning Man's debauchery in the desert (0)

  6. Uma Thurman addresses Quentin Tarantino dating rumors (0)

  7. Emma Stone debuts short hair at premiere of 'Birdman' (0)

  8. Former HHS cyber security chief convicted in child porn case was kept on government payroll for EIGHT MONTHS while under indictment and in custody (0)

  9. Jiff the pup is the fastest dog on two paws (0)

  10. Barbie joins Instagram as she jets around the world with the style set (0)

  11. Tomatoes 'cut risk of prostate cancer by 20%': It takes 10 portions a week - but even baked beans count  (0)

  12. Surfers flock to Southern California beaches as Hurricane Marie churns up giant waves (0)

  13. Sharon Tate's sister speaks out about her brutal murder by the Manson family (0)

  14. Little girl swears while doing the ice bucket challenge (0)

  15. If you want your relationship to last, marry a short man, say researchers (0)

  16. Man, 63, opens fire at New Jersey hospital, killing his wife and wounding himself... and police found a body at his house (0)

  17. Apple iWatch set to be revealed on September 9th alongside iPhone 6 (0)

  18. Officials let mystery illuminated american flag stay in Idaho park treetop because they have no idea how to get it down (or how it got there) (0)

  19. Wiggly road lines on a highway in Virginia leave drivers all shook up during rush hour (0)

  20. Watch David Lynch play trumpet for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (0)

  21. Alec Baldwin easily catches stray tennis ball at U.S. Open (0)

  22. Deputy prosecutor 'exchanged 1300 texts and a photo of herself in a bikini with inmate who has CRIMINAL tattooed on his forehead' (0)

  23. Fears for 16-year-old girl who disappeared walking home from a friend's house (0)

  24. Public executions are weekly ritual in ISIS-controlled parts of Syria  (0)

  25. Katie Couric's bitchy aside after Diane Sawyer beat her to land interview (0)

  26. CDC worker returns to the U.S. after coming in contact with Ebola patient in Africa...but officials say staffer is not a risk to the public (0)

  27. ESPN apologizes for Michael Sam report discussing his shower habits (0)

  28. Ashlee Simpson celebrates fiance Evan Ross' birthday with his mother Diana Ross (0)

  29. Kendall Jenner makes her debut in U.S. Vogue (0)

  30. Noiva do Cordeiro has made an appeal for bachelors (0)

  31. Sting charges fans £200 a day to pick grapes and olives at his Tuscan estate (0)

  32. Two bound and weighted bodies with duct tape found in Philadelphia river as third man frees himself (0)

  33. Wine time in the Bronze Age: Ancient underground cellar containing 40 vessels of booze found in Israel - and experts say each has a distinctive taste (0)

  34. Sopranos creator David Chase reveals fate of Tony Soprano (0)

  35. Paula M. Walker identified by Army as soldier who shot herself dead at Virginia base (0)

  36. Jesse Helt's father 'heart-broken' he's sleeping rough when 'he's got family to fall back on' (0)

  37. Dad ACQUITTED of shooting dead drunk driver who killed his two sons (0)

  38. Air Force fighter jet crashes in Virginia and pilot's fate remains 'unknown' (0)

  39. Justin Bieber compares fender bender to Princess Diana's car crash (0)

  40. Obama administration floats 'coalition' trial-balloon on Syria airstrikes as UK and Australia go on Pentagon's speed-dial (0)

  41. Chris Soules is named the new 'Bachelor' for Season 19 (0)

  42. Two homeless drifters 'murdered violinist, 61, in random robbery because they wanted money to live like rock stars' (0)

  43. Is Facebook silencing YOUR politics? (0)

  44. Swirling rivers, heart-shaped lakes and a rainbow-coloured mountain: Photographer captures breathtaking aerial images of Iceland while flying in a Cessna (0)

  45. Revelers dry off as perfect weather is forecast in Nevada for the rest of the week after massive thunderstorms delay opening of Burning Man (0)

  46. Joseph Jennings' family's fury 'depressed' teen was shot '16 times' by police (0)

  47. 'Big Bang Theory' star Johnny Galecki, Kelli Garner break up (0)

  48. George Clooney's ex Elisabetta Canalis 'happy' for his engagement (0)

  49. Peace in Gaza... but now Israel faces attack to the east after Al Qaeda fighters seize crossing with Syria (0)

  50. Tracy Morgan 'struggling' through slow recovery after deadly crash on New Jersey Turnpike (0)