Leukemia Survivor Who Had Identity Stolen By Lab Tech Tells His Story

We wrote about Eric Drew a few weeks ago—his personal information was stolen by a shady lab technician while he was undergoing treatment in 2004. Even after the lab tech was convicted, Drew still had to fight with the credit reporting companies to prove he existed and to clear up his credit record, so he filed lawsuits against TransUnion, Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Equifax and Experian. He settled with TransUnion earlier this year, and as part of the settlement they will now accept doctors’ notes for the hospitalized and the elderly, as well as offer free credit freezes to victims of ID theft.
 
So why are we rehashing this? Discover magazine just published a detailed account of Drew’s story, from his battle with leukemia and subsequent remission to the lengthy battle he waged against the credit industry to clear up his credit history.

Two days before the transplant, the hospital called Drew to tell him that his half brother, Michael, had mononucleosis and that it would be months before he could be up to the surgery required for his donation. Devastated, Drew dialed Alexa to tell her the news. She didn’t skip a beat. “I’ll be your donor, Eric,” she said. Two days before Christmas, Drew received Alexa’s stem cells through a catheter in his chest. It would be three months before he would know if the stem cells had grafted, and he knew the odds were low. But he had no idea how low he could get.
 
During his treatment in Seattle, he began getting strange calls from credit card companies thanking him for his application. Drew shrugged it off as best he could until the collection agents started arriving at his door. There were a half dozen accounts opened in his name, with almost $10,000 in charges. “Please stop this!” Drew told one of the banks on the phone. “I’m in a hospital dying!”
 
But there was no stopping this thief. Here Drew was, on the verge of death, and someone was stripping away his last shred of humanity. He felt that his identity was being taken on every level. The disease was robbing him of his life. Some criminal was stealing his identity.

“The Man Who Lost His Name–and His Genetic Identity” [Discover] (Thanks to Jodie!)
(Photo: Discover)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. TofuRobot says:

    Maybe his desire to set the record straight gave him the strength to still be here today…

    …but if he admitted to this, those companies would just send him a bill…

  2. scoosdad says:

    What a powerful story. Take the time to read it beginning to end.

  3. jenbear09 says:

    Amazing story, that while Drew was fighting for his life he was fighting for his identity too.

  4. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Wow! That is one tough dude. Fantastic and inspiring story, despite the soap opera-ish writer doing his best to ruin it.

  5. DaoKaioshin says:

    we always see these stories about people getting screwed by corporations. it’s rare we see a story where people gain more than a hard lesson. im glad this was on consumerist

  6. fhic says:

    And yet another “that really sucks” point: the bad guy, Richard Gibson, is to date the ONLY person to be prosecuted criminally for a HIPAA violation.

  7. dirk1965 says:

    That sounded like a “House” episode. The guy definitley has perceverience.

  8. SonicMan says:

    Good for him. I wish him the best, and hope it stays in remission.

    I’d like to see a heartless bastard try to blame the victum here……

  9. Pro-Pain says:

    Richard Gibson should have his pumpkin exploded with a sledgehammer. No remorse. You have to be lower than dirt to do this to someone whom you KNOW is sick and possibley dying. So sad…

  10. econobiker says:

    In the mid ’90′s one of the individual top id theives used the obituaries to target recently deceased high net worth individuals to steal money from their personal bank accounts and/or use their stellar credit ratings to open lines of credit (usually to purchase shipped shipped to hotels for pickup).

  11. Tonguetied says:

    Damn! That is a powerful story. Don’t read it if you don’t want to cry.

  12. mduser says:

    Wow, I’m just glad he won and survived

  13. littlealbatross says:

    @Imaginary_Friend: Agreed. The article was kind of painful to read at points but it was a cool story.