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Man With Low IQ Put On Heart List; State Won’t Provide After-care

June 17, 1995

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ A man with an IQ of 73 was put on a waiting list for new hearts Friday despite the state’s refusal to give him the necessary follow-up care because it doesn’t consider him mentally retarded.

Thomas Talbot, 22, who has a congenital heart condition, was put a list of people waiting for new hearts at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

His lawyer, Joanne Petito, had feared the hospital would reject Talbot unless the state agreed to help him with day-to-day tasks after the transplant: making and keeping doctor’s appointments, taking his medicine and making sure he gets other help he needs.

Neither his family nor the agency that helps him live by himself are equipped to see him through recovery from such a major operation, Petito said.

The hospital didn’t explain its decision to place Talbot on the waiting list.

While the transplant would be covered by Medicaid, Petito doesn’t think Medicaid would pay for the day-to-day services Talbot needs after surgery. Marylou Sudders, acting state mental health director, said she didn’t know if Medicaid would pay for Talbot’s after-care.

Meanwhile, state mental health officials on Friday reaffirmed the state’s decision that Talbot doesn’t qualify for after-care because he doesn’t meet the state’s definitions for mental retardation or disability.

The state had already rejected two earlier requests. Though his IQ indicates borderline mental retardation, the state has said Talbot is too smart to qualify.

Petito, who works at the Disabilities Rights Center, said she will appeal the latest ruling in Superior Court.

``This decision is outrageous, insensitive,″ Petito said.

State officials declined to comment, citing confidentiality laws.

Petito said the state arbitrarily rules that anyone with an IQ above 70 is not retarded. The state, however, has said decisions are based on a more complicated formula, with IQ only one of several factors determining eligibility.

Talbot has scored lower than 73 on previous IQ tests and was in special education classes for much of his schooling, Petito said.

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