Michael Troy Wieser photos

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Las Vegas Review Journal story

Could local entertainer's life have been saved?

Red tape may have gotten in the way of saving a local entertainer and model's life.

His friends shared their anger and concern with Action News. The lack of benefits that went with Michael Troy's line of work may have kept him from getting the care he needed. Just when there were signs of progress, he lost his fight Wednesday.

Action News reporter Steve Ryan talked to one of his best friends moments after he passed away.

Michael's friends say he may have been a victim of cutbacks like so many other people lately. He himself had to cut corners from managing his disease, and when it got worse, Nevada couldn't subsidize him because it lost its donor program last year.

Now, Michael's friends don't want other people to have to follow suit. "He was a friend that you could count on. He was always there when you needed him. He was just, just a good guy," says Brian Brown. Brian befriended Michael years ago, working with him in Las Vegas' entertainment community.

On the outside, Michael was the picture of health, but on the inside, he was battling liver disease. He went to a hospital over the weekend, with what he thought was a cold. "When finally someone came in Monday morning and they got him out Monday afternoon, it was already too late," says Brian. Michael died at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota Wednesday evening.

He needed a liver transplant, but was taken off the list. Work in today's uncertain economy had been tight for him, like so many of Las Vegas' other independent contractors. That may have cost Michael more than a paycheck. "He couldn't afford the medication, which was like three to four hundred dollars a month to take care of this, on top of going to the hospital to get plasma treatments as well," says Brian.

Michael's friends say if he'd been able to afford the track-record of care, he'd likely have gotten that transplant. Now that Michael's gone, they don't want other freelancers caught in the same red tape. "Something needs to be done no matter who does it or how it happens. This could not have happened to a better person with a bigger heart," says Brian. Michael was just 27 years old. Click here to learn more about Wilson's disease and how you can donate to a benefit set up in Michael's memory.

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