Health Care Help Request: Healing Hearts and Minds Preferred -- Help a Fellow Kossack
I'm writing this diary for a fellow Kossack who is well known in this community; his wife is in excruciating pain and getting worse. They are both friends of mine who I have known online for years but never had the pleasure to meet in person.
The long and short of it: if anyone can help them identify a teaching facility or program where they could get an MRI for her, in the NC area, it would be greatly appreciated.
The slightly longer short version: she suffered an injury at work; and workmans comp was canceled when it could be claimed that the new injury site conflicted with an older existing one.
My friends do not have insurance -- welcome to the new (ongoing) good old American health insurance nightmare.
More info and specifics over the fold, but I will not reveal the Kossack's identity. I have emailed a front-pager with identifying information in case management is curious.
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OK -- first out of the gate, here's their story:
On August 16, my wife fell on a wet floor at her workplace and seriously injured her neck and shoulder. Although her employer paid for initial medical care, when they learned that she may have reinjured a fused disc in her neck (from a 1995 injury), they immediately dropped her from further coverage and denied any workers comp claims for her.
She has no health care whatsoever, so she cannot afford further medical care, and cannot get an MRI or other assessments to see if she has, indeed, reinjured her fused disc. Therefore she cannot get a "disability factor" assessment.
She is in terrible and increasing pain, and only has a few muscle relaxers to treat her injuries. She is experiencing increasing numbness in her head, neck, arms, and hands, and is steadily losing her ability to function.
Recently we were turned down by a local workers comp lawyer for representation. He told us that he could not make enough money off of the case quickly enough to make it worth his while to pursue. We have been able to secure the services of another lawyer, but she was quick to inform us that this will be a long and tedious process, and medical treatment for her may be months or years in the offing, if indeed any is provided. I honestly don't know if she will last that long. Her emotional state is deteriorating; she is finding it more and more difficult to stave off despondency and despair. In many ways, she is like the cats that she so loves and spends so much time caring for; like a gravely wounded cat, her instinct is to crawl into a hole and die out of sight of anyone else. As her husband, I won't let that happen if I can prevent it.
OK, now for some quick tidbits:
- They have, finally, found a lawyer who has taken their case, fee contingent upon success.
- Can she apply/qualify for SSI? No.
- What about State insurance -- Medicaid...? No -- too far above the pitiful poverty level.
- Is there a program or outreach that they can take advantage of, like something the Edwards' provide? No -- There is a county government program here that they've inquired about, but they would have to meet the poverty restrictions to gain access to it.
They are in an area of NC (Wilmington) that's not far from an area that is rife with medical teaching universities.
My question and plea to my fellow Kossacks: does anyone familiar with the NC / Wilmington area, or associated with a medical facility that does business there, have any ideas or suggestions for programs that may permit persons without medical insurance to receive an MRI and have it evaluated by a qualified physician? Are there medical student rounds where the costs are eliminated or negligible compared to full costs, and the only requirements are essentially that the patient be examined by the students as well as the doctor?
If I'm barking up the wrong tree, let me know -- I'm looking for options, and my friends aren't the type to accept charity.
Theirs isn't the only such story in America today. On Tuesday, September 01, cmhmd posted a piece called A few anecdotes about medical care in America.... On Thursday, September 3, evelette posted her triumphant piece called Health Care Series: When healthcare works, while on Friday, September 4, minerva1157 posted Now I have to say good-bye, a tearful follow-up to her previous, painful piece I nearly lost my husband last week.
We're not alone in our pain or suffering; our friends are not alone. And anything we can do to help them in their times of need helps to reaffirm our own membership in the human race.
Please let me know in comments anything you can suggest or email me at epluribus media dot net (all as one word) with any specific contact suggestions.