Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pain and Suffering

My sister, the day before the accident
Some of you have kindly asked in emails and in comments how my sister is doing since her head-on car accident on February 25, while she was vacationing in Hawaii.

Well, it's been six and a half weeks of near constant pain and suffering. She has compression in her lower back and in her neck. The chiropactor said she has a kink in the middle of her back, whatever that means. She's experiencing severe headaches (worse in pain and in character than the migraines that she has had nearly all of her adult life). In the past three weeks she's been to the emergency room and urgent care three times, looking for relief from relentless headaches that have persisted even after the administration of morphine and demerol. She's been told that she has rattled brain syndrome. Soft tissue damage is absolutely making her life miserable.

In addition, she's battling the insurance company. The accident took place in Hawaii, and she lives in California. Hawaii is a no-fault state, so she is "working" with the driver's insurance of the car she was a passenger in. They have made it very difficult for her to get care she needs. She does not want any out of pocket expenses. She's a self-employed and completely self-supporting real estate agent. She is caught between care providers who are afraid that the insurance company will ultimately stiff them on the bill, and an insurance company who has told her that it would be unlikely they would reimburse her for massages (that her doctor ordered), if she pays for them herself. They want the masseuse to bill them. They are suspicious of everything, and my sister is simply good-natured, so is now beginning to see that they are really not interested in her well being.

Here are the issues. She's in pain. She wants relief. She wants the insurance company to pay for the care she has been prescribed by her physician. She is losing valuable time with clients, which she can ill afford. She needs time to heal, but can not take it because time away from work means no income. Is it possible for self-employed people take time off from work?
Sis L & me in front
my twin brother M in back, 1961

How did we get to this place? How did we become a nation where insurance companies dictate the health care we need? What does a person do when they are injured, and there is no safety net to catch them when they fall? My sister pays for her own health insurance. She does not want to involve her HMO with this accident. It is a strange world for her to navigate. Does she need to find new doctors? I don't know how to intervene. I just told her on the phone that I would call anyone she wants me to and yell at them until she is given what she needs. I have been my sister's protector, champion, and friend all of my life. I find it intolerable that she is suffering. I want to fix this for her. Anyone have any ideas? How do you fight the insurance people and win?

No comments:

Post a Comment