Ocean County Family Swamped With Bills After Three-Year-Old's Death

Little boy lost - Daniel Morin died on May 26

Daniel in the pool with his mother
Daniel in the pool with his mother

by Patricia A. Miller

Even before her son Daniel was born, Donna Morin of Manchester knew he would have a rough time in this life.

Morin- who is disabled - had gone in for a back procedure three years ago when doctors informed her she was pregnant. It was a surprise for Morin, who already had two older children and was divorced.

"Well, it changed my life," she said. "Only for the better."

But ultrasounds of the baby showed several ominous major heart defects. Instead of the normal four heart chambers, the baby had only two.

"We knew when I was pregnant we had a problem," she said.

Morin - who was 43 at the time of the unexpected pregnancy - lived in the Ronald McDonald House in Camden to be closer to Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia when the baby was born.

When Daniel arrived, there were 23 medical personnel in the delivery room.

The baby had three heart surgeries, including one to replace his mitral valve with a man-made one, before he was six months old.

Daniel eventually came home, with a retinue of health care workers. He required 24-hour-a-day care, oxygen and had more than 40 blood transfusions. He never ate a meal in his life and had to be fed intravenously. He never spoke a word.

"For a child who never spoke, he spoke volumes," his mother said. The two communicated with sign language.

"It was a lot," Morin said. "24-7, seven days a week. I would give anything to have it back."

Morin and her fiancee Rikk Kutan decided to give Daniel as normal a life as possible. Katan became Daniel's father, since his natural father was not in the little boy's life.

"Daniel fell instantly in love with him," Morin said of Katan. "The minute he walked in the door he lit up."

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Daniel and his family were able to visit Disneyland in California the first week in April.

When they came home, Daniel return to the Lehmann School of Ladacin on Airport Road in Lakewood. The preschool provides physical, occupation and speech therapy for children with special needs.

Daniel loved school.

"All the other kids were like him," Morin said. "He never felt different."

Daniel's last day of school was May 5. The children had a little Cinco de Mayo party.

But by nightfall, Daniel was sick with a 102 degree temperature. The diagnosis was influenza, a big problem for a little boy with a compromised heart and immune system.

"It went from flu to bronchitis to pneumonia," Morin said. "He just was not getting rid of it."

On May 25, one of Daniel's night nurses told Morin she was concerned because she couldn't hear any bowel sounds in his belly.

Donna and Kutan rushed him to Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Daniel was admitted at 10:30 p.m. He died at 3:12 a.m. of cardiac and pulmonary arrest, his mother said.

And now, despite the overwhelming loss of her son, Morin is dealing with financial disaster. There's an $8,400 electric bill and a $1,600 gas bill.

Social Security wants her to pay back $63,000 benefits because she also collected workmen's compensation after she was badly injured at work. She is 100 percent disabled.

"They knew about it," she said. "It was on my record. I have nothing to hide."

Morin says she was assured by her lawyer at the time of Daniel's birth she could collect both. She missed a court appearance on the matter because that was the day she gave birth to her son.

For the most part, Daniel's medical bills were paid by New Jersey Family Care. Kutan, who owns a mobile equipment repair business, had cut back on his work to help take care of Daniel.

Morin still lives in the home that was in her family for six generations. Her grandmother left it to her. But the house is now in foreclosure. Her father took out second mortgages on the home and left her grandparents in debt, she said.

"My house is going into foreclosure, because I have no income" she said. "The mortgage company doesn't want to hear anything. I have no one to go to."

If you would like to help contribute to the family, go to Daniel's www.facebook.com/bleedinghearts.benefit?fref=ts on Facebook. 

TRman June 19, 2014 at 07:32 AM
The government wants that money back so they can give it to some illegal aliens
Lucretia B June 19, 2014 at 09:34 AM
Yes, Im not surprised at all that they were living with bills but didn't do anything at the time to handle the situation. Im even more surprised that their bills don't reach one million dollars.
barbara June 19, 2014 at 12:22 PM
It's so sad that they have to face this after losing a child. When a child of yours is very ill, nothing else matters at that time. Your focus is on the child. Hope the utilities and SS show some compassion and let them work out a plan so the financial stress is eased.
Jennifer P June 20, 2014 at 03:42 PM
It's such a shame that in this day and age a family has to take on such financial struggles while dealing with such overwhelming medical issues. Unless you are independently wealthy to begin with one could never come through such a time without being under water. It is hard enough carrying such huge emotional and physical stress to begin with. Compile that along with the monetary expectations from medical bills and regular household bills... the regular Joe could never survive. There should be help for families like this. We are a community should help families like this so they do not lose their homes, their lives. The government, the health care agencies, they should help the American people so they, so we can support our families through times like this without losing everything. It is very unfair.
JG June 25, 2014 at 07:34 AM
well usually MEDICAID would have helped , BUT NOW WE HAVE OBAMA CARE so I guess there is no more medicaid? and hospitals often provide charity care , energy programs etc. etc. and as barbara says a payment plan is usually always available . Life is tuff, got to get tuffa . SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOST, no compensation can take that hurt away.


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