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Medical Marijuana Keeps Sacramento Woman From Heart Transplant

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — "We're fighting to keep her alive," said Andrew Babcock. His cousin, a bright and fun loving 23-year-old is nearing the end of her life.

"It seems to me like they're just sending her just to die," said Babcock.

Family members say Summer Waltman was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and has suffered heart complications for years.

"She didn't ask for all of that," said Babcock, "she just wanted to be a normal person."

Her cousin, Andrew Babcock says when she was 6, Waltman had heart surgery. Ten years later, she had a pacemaker put in.
After having a baby last year, against doctor recommendations, her heart condition worsened.

"Just watching her go through all this is hard," said Babcock.

Waltman is in need of a transplant but was denied. Another option, a medical pump which could extend her life from days, to years was also denied.

"It's devastating, for the whole family," said Babcock, getting emotional.

Waltman uses medical marijuana for pain management and comfort. Her family says it's her cannabis use and potentially other factors that led to the denial.

A 2015 state law prohibits discrimination against medical cannabis patients in the organ transplant process, but the doctor has the final say determining if a patient's cannabis use mixed with other factors could impact a transplant.

According to a spokesperson for her hospital, Mercy General, "Patient care is our top priority and we respect the privacy of our patients and legally cannot discuss the specifics of their care. There are very strict criteria to qualify for specialized heart procedures"

"She's got a great spirit and wants to live," said Barbara Babcock.

According to National Institute of Health; cardiologists go through dozens of tests and look at dozens of criteria for major medical procedures including the patient's physical ability to handle a transplant or surgery, to the environment where they live.

"We're kind of reaching for a miracle right now," said Barbara Babcock

With limited options and sensing her time is up, Summer has taken to social media writing on Facebook,

"I hope I made an impact in some ppl lives I'm sorry I did everything I could," and " I put up one hell of a fight."

Family tells us, Waltman had been seeking medical help in San Francisco but was transferred to Mercy General late Thursday night where she'll be kept comfortable.

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