PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - For more than six months, Mithara Bateau, 9, who was born without a fibula in her right leg has gone through unnecessary pain while waiting for her insurance company, United Healthcare, to approve her new prosthetic leg after she outgrew the old one.
"It don't fit anymore," Mithara told Local 10 News reporter Bob Norman.
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"How does that affect you?" Norman asked.
"It hurts. When I put my shoe on, it hurts," Mithara said.
Not only did it hurt, the needless delay kept her out of her favorite class, P.E., and most importantly, her father said it put extra pressure on her hip, which has already undergone surgery.
"When the shoe doesn't fit it actually affects her entire body," Charles Bateau said.
"How have you been able to withstand all these surgeries?" Norman asked Mithara.
"They keep hurting me," she said.
After Mithara's story aired on Local 10 News, she finally received a new leg and she's back in P.E. class
"Does it fit?" Norman asked.
"Yes," Mithara said.
"I bet you were happy to get rid of the last one?" Norman said.
"Yes," Mithara replied.
Mithara said she finds this one much more stylish, as well.
"I like the color and design," she said.
"It's a lot better now, way better," Bateau said. "I know she's not going to get hurt now. I'm going to say thank you to Channel 10 and to Bob Norman, too, because it's been since August (that) I've been supposed to have those shoes."
But the credit really goes to Bateau, a 16-year Target employee and single dad who has struggled for years to pay Mithara's surgery bills, which have run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Bateau told Norman that he went bankrupt last year while trying to pay all of his daughter's medical bills to the tune of $200,000.
Despite his struggles, Bateau said nothing will stop him from making sure that Mithara gets the care she needs, even if it is sometimes delayed.
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