Justice forces SUS to pay for treatment for girls in the US

The health treatment of 11-year-old Yasmin Bastos Nunes, who is running against time to be able to perform the Car-T Cell therapy to cure herself of an ALL (acute lymphoid leukemia), will be funded in part by the SUS (Unified Health System ), after an injunction was granted by the Federal Court, in a decision imposed yesterday afternoon.

The treatment will be done in the United States and has an estimated value of R$ 3.5 million. Given the change in the dollar, Car-T Cell therapy can reach R$ 5 million.

In the decision of federal judge Andreia Guimarães do Nascimento, of the 3rd Federal Civil Court of Feira de Santana, as an injunction, the Union must transfer R$ 1,914,535.77, which is the remaining amount for the treatment of Yasmin in the United States . The deadline is 15 days for the federal government to deposit the amount in her family’s account. The decision is still subject to appeal.

The child lives in Feira de Santana (BA), and has suffered from leukemia since the age of six. For five years, Yasmin underwent chemotherapy treatment but had four relapses. Last year, she underwent a bone marrow transplant, but the cancer still returned. Current exams showed the advance of cancerous lesions.

Despite being weakened by the disease, Yasmin records videos on the Internet explaining the disease and asking for donations. In one of the videos, she holds up posters to sensitize donors stating that “if your child’s life had a price? And that price was so high that you couldn’t pay? Does it pay or does the disease win? What would you do?” she says, explaining that she has already undergone all the treatments available in Brazil and that Car-T Cell therapy is the only alternative to save her, with the detail of needing to go abroad to have access to it.

According to the girl’s family, the only chance for a cure for Yasmin is with Car-T Cell therapy, which is only done in the United States and Europe. Yasmin’s cancer is rare and affects a girl’s bone marrow and immune system. According to her family, every day her health condition is getting worse. She is currently admitted to a hospital in Salvador with a urinary tract infection.

Yasmin’s father, Nelson Nunes, celebrated the news of the injunction and explained that the court determined the residual value. He highlighted that the campaign continues, as there may be extra expenses that were not budgeted, which were not estimated, such as extra complications in hospitals.

“We can’t wait for the good news. The Public Defender’s Office got the residual value of Yasmin’s treatment in court, because the amount we collected in the campaign will be used. We have to wait for the next 15 days, which is the deadline that the Union has to deposit the amount, or unfortunately, still accept some appeal. You are all part of this, as this action was only more easily granted by the judge due to the amount we had already collected. We are very happy “, said the father of Yasmin.

The family made budgets in hospitals abroad and the value of Car-T Cell therapy is on average R$ 3.5 million. Yasmin’s parents started a campaign, but until reaching the amount, the girl’s health condition has deteriorated. They approached the DPU (Union Public Defender) to file a lawsuit to force the federal government to pay for the treatment.

About R$ 2.3 million have already been raised, according to the balance released by the girl’s family on the last day of the 7th. August 20, that the federal government bear the costs of the treatment. The Federal Court accepted part of the request, taking into account the amount already collected by the girl’s family, and ordered the government to pay R$ 1,914,535.77 through the SUS (Unified Health System).

Even with the injunction granted by the Federal Court, the family continues to campaign, as the federal government may appeal the decision. The stipulated value of the case was based, in addition to medical expenses, on the costs of airfare, accommodation and food for the girl and her companions during the time she will be in treatment in the USA. The Court also determined that the family should account for the amounts used during the girl’s treatment.

Car-T Cell therapy uses the patient’s own T cells, which are altered in the laboratory to identify cancer cells. After being modified with the specific antigen for the type of cancer, the cells are inserted back into the patient’s body so that the immune system reacts by destroying the cancer cells present in the body.