Things That Matter

30-Year-Old Andy De Leon Is in a ‘Vegetative State’ After Being Shot by Friend’s Ex-Boyfriend, and Now His Insurance Stopped Covering His Care

Andy De Leon, 30, was once a Miami-based physical therapy assistant, who neighbors have described as a “very sweet” and “hard working guy.”

Just around nine months ago, De Leon went out with his female friend. According to police, the two were inside a car at 11:00 p.m. in the Olympia Heights neighborhood of West Miami Dade when the woman’s ex-boyfriend Jonathan Clemente, 23, allegedly opened fire on them with a semi-automatic handgun.

The accused shooter fired several times, with a neighbor, Carmen Castro saying she heard a total of seven gunshots. However, they were still able to drive away from the shooter to a nearby gas station, but he followed and shot them again. 

The woman received a shot to the chest but survived after being stabilized at the hospital. However, De Leon was “clinically dead” when brought to Kendall Regional Medical Center, being revived after a bullet hit a vertebral artery.

This cut off blood flow to his brain, leading to a lack of oxygen that caused several strokes. As per De Leon’s loved ones, the shooter waited for “several hours” until getting his chance to attack, which was “methodically planned.” 

According to police, Clemente turned himself in and confessed to shooting the two victims. As per the arrest report, Clemente said he was upset after the woman ended their relationship, and he believed she was dating De Leon.

Now, he is in jail awaiting trial with attempted murder charges. 

Additionally, Clemente was allegedly involved in the murder of his friend Frankie Cordero just three months before De Leon’s shooting. Cordero’s mother Carolyn Villalobos told NBC that she was “outraged” that the shooting “could have been avoided,” and that Clemente shot Cordero after an altercation.

According to Villalobos, “when he finished murdering my son, he decided to shoot himself in the leg to kind of bring everything together that it was self-defense, this altercation… so he was released.”

While Clemente is now behind bars, with his father stating that his son has “mental problems,” the battle has just begun for De Leon’s family.

The 30-year-old is now in a “vegatative state,” and cannot speak or move. His sister Tatiana De Leon, 39, told the Miami Herald, “I do believe he hears us. When he hears the voices of mom and dad, and myself and some of the people he really loved, his eyes start to blink very rapidly and he begins to make noises with his mouth.”

Even though she said “with his facial expressions, we believe as a family it could potentially mean he’s understanding us,” the doctors differ. She explained, “the doctors don’t believe so. It’s a very hard thing to watch.”

Needing “24-hour care,” the doctors have told the family De Leon might never regain consciousness, even though he has made certain progress like opening his eyes, swallowing, and being able to urinate with no catheter.

But brain scans show little activity, and De Leon remains on a feeding tube with atrophied limbs at Select Specialty Hospital in Miami, a place for critical illness recovery. Plus, now hitting the nine-month mark after the tragic shooting, his insurance has denied coverage for his necessary round-the-clock care.

According to De Leon’s family, his insurance will stop covering his care at Select Specialty Hospital, and after reaching out to over 25 rehab and nursing facilities, none will take him due to “insufficient medical insurance.”

Sister Tatiana De Leon said, “he’s been denied both because of his condition, or because of his condition and his age, because he’s so young… he’s considered a long-term patient and he would be there too long.”

Being denied coverage means De Leon might have to be moved to be cared for in his parent’s home. Although needing 24/7 care, he may just have a nurse come in around two hours a day.

His sister said, “if I could take out my whole savings account, I would, but I still would not be able to afford [his care],” explaining, “we want him to receive the best care possible.” Tatiana works and is a mother, while De Leon’s mother also works and his father has Alzheimer’s. 

With a confusing, disheartening maze of applications, paperwork, and vague answers ahead of them, the De Leon family is at a standstill — dealing with a system Tatiana says is “very convoluted, almost broken.”

Now, they have created a GoFundMe for De Leon’s “very long journey” ahead, particularly for his medical expenses and their immense financial burden.

While De Leon’s story is tragic in every way, his family continues to pray “for a miracle,” with a neighbor saying: “it’s gonna take a lot of recuperation. He will need a lot of physical therapy. And for what they are going through, it would just be a lot of relief for the family.” 

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