Quantcast



Mom who shared son’s surgery bill online got deluge of death threats

A former pediatric nurse who shared her son’s surgery bill on Twitter as a reason to fight the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — also known as ‘Obamacare’ — received waves of support when her post went viral.

But then, as Alison Chandra wrote on Vox.com Friday, the death threats started and introduced her to “the darkness lurking in the savage corners of the internet.”

Chandra’s now-3-year-old son Ethan was born with a birth defect called heterotaxy syndrome, “a rare condition that can cause any of the internal organs to be malformed, misplaced, multiplied, or missing altogether. Ethan’s insides are a math all their own: two left lungs, five spleens, and nine congenital heart defects. It was his heart that had brought him to the operating room to have his chest opened four times in his short life.”

The bill she posted online was for a surgery totaling $231,115 in fees. Thanks to rules put in place by the ACA — President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement — Chandra was only charged $500.

She posted the bill and Ethan’s story on Twitter, only have it retweeted thousands of times. Calls and messages from reporters were pouring in, along with a great deal of support.

“But as more and more people saw the original tweet, the tide seemed to shift,” said Chandra. “I was still seeing lots of people on our side, but as articles were churned out and shared, it was clear that people weren’t reading much past the headlines. They came at me swinging, picking fights I’d never asked for. They called me ungrateful, a thief, a lazy mooch, an attention whore.”

She posted the bill and Ethan’s story on Twitter, only have it retweeted thousands of times. Calls and messages from reporters were pouring in, along with a great deal of support.

“But as more and more people saw the original tweet, the tide seemed to shift,” said Chandra. “I was still seeing lots of people on our side, but as articles were churned out and shared, it was clear that people weren’t reading much past the headlines. They came at me swinging, picking fights I’d never asked for. They called me ungrateful, a thief, a lazy mooch, an attention whore.”