A Los Angeles photographer has died after deciding not to go to hospital because he could not afford it despite vomiting “buckets full of blood”.
Conan Soranno, who set up an appeal on a crowdfunding website to fund his care, said he had faced a choice of seeking treatment or becoming homeless.
It is clear he realised the seriousness of his condition as he wrote on social media about calling people he knew at 3am so “I wouldn’t be alone when I died”.
Deborah Harrington, an expert on healthcare at a UK think tank specialising in public service issues, said his case demonstrated everything that was wrong with “selling healthcare as if it was a product”.
, Mr Soranno, , wrote: “This weekend was hell, but it has allowed me to bring up a serious topic. It’s about being poor and why that is the biggest cause of death in someone who’s fighting to survive.
“My rent is due the 25th. To afford rent I need to sell my jeep.
“On August 20th I started vomiting buckets full of blood. It also came out the other end as well.
“I think it’s because they upped my blood thinners. I really should have gone straight to the hospital.
“It was really serious for a couple days. I even called people at 3am so I wouldn’t be alone when I died.
“My rational[e]that kept me out of the hospital was I couldn’t go because then I couldn’t sell my jeep and then I would [not]be able to pay rent.
“Pretty f***ed up that some people have to make hard decisions like that.
“Hospital or homeless.”
Mr Soranno had started an appeal on the crowdfunding website YouCaring under the heading “Continuing the fight to keep Conan alive!”
A total of $2,595 had been donated by 23 people.
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On that site, he said: “Who knew staying alive would be so expensive and stressful.
“I’m so moved by how much everyone has helped out so far. I am grateful beyond words and I’m working on personalized thank you cards because I want all of you to know how much it means to me and my family. (sorry they are taking a while.)
“It seems like the stress never ends. Even with all the help I’m still scared shit less that I can’t afford my care this month and if I’m not able to sell my car this week I won’t be able to afford rent.
“So once again I have to ask my loved ones, you, if you can pass the hat. I feel like I’m asking too much once again…. And I’m going to continue fighting so that I can give back to the world what it has given to me..
“If… No, when I survive this I want to to volunteer to help at risk kids or volunteer at Planned Parenthood.
“I need to survive this, I have a heavy debt to pay.”
He said he had set the fundraiser at $600, the amount he needed to pay for care for a month.
“Honestly if I can’t sell my jeep I need to come up with another 600 on top of that,” Mr Soranno added.
“I don’t want you to stress your bank account … I’m not that special. But if you can help, you know how much it means to me. I’d be dead now if it weren’t for my friends.
“And fingers crossed that next month all my paperwork is straightened out so that I’m able to pay a reasonable rate for everything.”
Ms Harrington, research co-ordinator with think tank Public Matters, said: “I just feel like I should cry down the phone.
“I think it shows that a private market in healthcare is just an abuse of people.
“This story on its own highlights all the things that are wrong with selling healthcare as if it was a product, rather than delivering it publicly for the public good.”