Falling Through the Cracks

By: Joe Harrington Email
By: Joe Harrington Email

"I've had a... metal apparatus on the side of my face right here during Kindergarten," 16-year-old Alx King said.

Kathryn King adopted Alx when he was only 18-months-old.
He was born with a condition called Goldenhar Syndrome.
Randomly occuring, WebMD says it causes abnormalities often on one side the body.

"His face didn't form on... the right hand side, that means his jaw, all the bones in his face, the skull, there is no skull on his side where his ear is missing," Kathryn said.

When he was just a child, and the family had medical assistance, Alx's mother had to tighten screws in a mental device on her son's face, breaking and extending his jaw.
The device was painful and so were the insults at school.

"Some kids my age are okay with it but others think it's fun to pick on me."

Alx now goes to school at home, taking college classes on the Internet.
His condition not only takes its toll emotionally, but could be getting worse.

"His jaw is moving backward it's closing off his throat it's difficult for him to swallow," Kathryn said.

Alx's family says they fear he could die without surgery, and right now he's without insurance coverage.
The Kings turned to a state agency, Nevada Check Up, for help paying for an expensive procedure at Stanford.
Kathryn says she took on a job to help pay travel expenses.
Alx's adoptive father wasn't there for our interview because he works too.
The family says they heard back from Nevada Check-Up only to learn they make 640-dollars too much to get help.

Alx's mother said: "for six-hundred and 40 dollars he could lose his life and it doesn't make sense to me."

Charles Duarte is the administrator for Nevada Check-Up. Duarte said: "Well for Nevada Check-Up the income guidelines are extremely strict and it's (an) agreement we have with the federal government that we'll abide by those guidelines."

Duarte says eligible families can make up to 200-percent of the federal poverty level; for a family of three, that's 34,340-dollars.
Duarte says this about whether special consideration can be given for life-threatening conditions: "Nevada Check-Up's criteria is, is strictly on an income basis and making sure that the child has been uninsured."

Alx's family worries his promising future could be cut short.
He's already shown talent at his job maintaining planes at Battle Mountain's airport.
However, he aspires to have a career a graphic artist.

"I just like how things can get put together and be something that you've never seen before," Alx said.

Alx's family hopes 640-dollars won't stand in the way of the 16-year-old achieving his dreams.

"This is my son's life that they're willing to give up for six-hundred and 40 dollars," Kathryn said.

"I just try not to focus on that, focus on what I have now and what I can do, try to knock out the bad and stick with the good," Alx said.

The administrator of Nevada Check-Up recommended another state program. He says the Katie Beckett program gives assistance to severely disabled children, and has looser income standards. But the King family does not believe Alx qualifies. They also don't believe he qualifies for Medicaid.


KOLO-TV 4850 Ampere Drive Reno, NV 89502
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 7224841 - kolotv.com/a?a=7224841