The immense struggle of dealing with the consequences of an accident, such as a traumatic brain injury, is hard to appreciate until one actually has to go through it. Each Illinois brain injury attorney at our firm has been fortunate in being able to work with these families day in and day out to get a very real appreciation for their situation. It is understandable for those without personal experience in these matters to offer sympathy but fail to understand exactly how an entire family’s life is forever changed as a result. The injury itself is devastating, and the situation can be made even more difficult when medical errors, administrative delays, and other preventable problems are thrown into the mix.
For example, the Northwest Herald published a story this weekend highlighting the story of one local family dealing with the consequences of an Illinois brain injury. The victim in this case was traveling on his motorcycle last Easter from Marengo to Crystal Lake to spend the holiday with his family. Unfortunately, the man lost control of his motorcycle during the ride and was involved in a serious crash. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, and was essentially left “a shell” of the man he once was. The victim had a steady job, however, his employer did not offer health insurance. Suffering one of these injuries without insurance adds an immense stress to the family. The victim’s longtime girlfriend explained that once hospitals learn of his insurance situation they usually shuffle him out the door.
As we have frequently explained, new treatment methods have shown that brain injury victims can show remarkable recovery so long as they receive the right kind of care in a timely fashion. However, those without the resources to receive that care are often placed in tough situations. As the victim’s partner explained, “What really gets me is Public Act said they will feed and house him for life, but they won’t rehab him.”
Hospitals report that these parameters are essential, because the public financial situation is dire. Hospital administrators suggest that they are never paid as much in return as they actually spend on care from the government. Budget crises and delayed payments, they suggest, are only making things worse. As a result, patients like the victim in this case often get shuffled from hospital to hospital. In the last year alone, the man here has been to eight different hospitals, from the South Side of Chicago up to Wisconsin. Expectedly, being bounced from facility to facility means that the care he receives is sub-par. His girlfriend questioned, “I don’t understand why there is so much red tape and hoops that families have to jump through just to get the care they need.”
Heartbreakingly the family notes that when he was receiving therapy in his early days he was progressing and was able to walk and talk. However, as he began moving around to different facilities, he stopped receiving therapy. As a result, he deteriorated. He now can no longer talk or leave his bed. The family remains concerned that their loved one is not getting the care he needs in the crucial first year after the injury, when many of the biggest gains are made. They worry if he will never be able to recovery up to his potential as a result of the therapy problems.
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