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Giffords May Get Better Brain-Injury Care Than Most of Her Constituents

Because of a lack of research and spotty insurance coverage, thousands of Americans with brain injuries don’t receive the comprehensive treatment they need.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, left, leads the Pledge of Allegiance accompanied by her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, at the start of a memorial vigil remembering the victims and survivors of the shooting that wounded Giffords,12 others and killed six a year ago on Jan. 8, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo)

In the minutes, hours and weeks after U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot at a meeting with her constituents in Tucson, Ariz., the public witnessed some of the very best brain-injury care in the country. In the year following the shooting, Giffords herself has championed the rights of others -- whether injured by gunfire or car crashes -- to get the same care she continues to receive. Holding town hall meetings and panel discussions, she has argued that everyone should get the full spectrum of treatments: from the intensive trauma care that saved her life to the rehabilitation therapies that are, albeit slowly, helping her return to living it.

We've covered in detail the military's track record of refusing treatments such as cognitive rehabilitation therapy for thousands of soldiers and veterans with traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. But "despite how much people have criticized military care," said Geoff Manley, a professor of neurological surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, "it's a hundred times better than what goes on in the civilian sector."

The average American has a paucity of services to choose from, according to Manley, who describes the current lack of standards in treating traumatic brain injuries a "travesty." The problem is twofold: a lack of research into the best course of treatment for TBI, and a lack of access to the treatments that are available.

Brain injuries come in many different types and severity. This year, the estimated National Institutes of Health funding for research on traumatic brain injuries is $85 million. But Manley said treatment for a single patient with a severe injury can cost $2 million to $4 million. Last year alone, the estimated total cost of TBI was $76.3 billion, according to a report by Lisa McGuire of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The mismatch between the enormous annual cost of TBI to the general population and the amount of money going into research is striking, said Manley.

Despite the need for more research, Giffords' story shows the potential of the treatments now available. But according to Susan Connors, the president of the Brain Injury Association of America, what treatment you receive depends heavily on your state, insurance plan (or lack of one), hospital and the people advocating for you.

In some states, like Texas, laws mandate rehabilitation for people who suffer brain injuries. Other states, like Michigan, have mandatory auto insurance policies that cover all medical costs if you have an accident (collisions are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries). According to Connors, both state laws give patients comprehensive access to the whole continuum of care.

Other states, like Georgia, have created special programs or "trust funds" for people who suffer brain injuries. An added fee on traffic-related fines (usually about 50 cents to $1) is deposited in an account set aside for individuals who can't afford to pay for care. In Florida, the fee also applies to drunk boaters.

Your care also depends heavily on the kind of insurance you have, if any. Many types, from standard health insurance like Blue Cross Blue Shield to workers' compensation to auto insurance, provide some coverage for TBI, but plans vary widely even within each category. Most plans cover the intensive care immediately after the injury, such as the brain surgery that saved Giffords' life. But few cover the longer-term rehabilitation therapies that are so critical to regaining mental and physical functions. (One plan that generally doesn't offer much coverage even for immediate care is "mini-medical" insurance, which often doesn't pay for major injuries caused by accidents or usually requires the patient to pay a large proportion of the bill.)

According to Connors, Giffords received superb treatment because she had great coverage from her federal workers' compensation, which is available not only to Congressional representatives but to roughly three million federal employees.

Dr. Steve Flanagan, chairman of Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center, said comprehensive rehabilitation must address any problems in physical abilities (muscle strength, balance, reflexes), cognitive abilities (memory, problem-solving, attention) and emotional aspects (anxiety, depression, irritability). Because some of these problems continue for years after an injury, they often require lifelong follow-up treatments and regular monitoring.

Even if your insurance policy theoretically covers such long-term treatments, whether it actually ends up paying for the care can be utterly arbitrary, Flanagan said. The advocacy skills of you, your family members and your provider also make a difference. According to Connors, the more vocal, the better. When it comes to injury coverage, Connors said, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease, whether it's UnitedHealthcare, Medicare or TriCare."

Finally, your hospital matters. "There are only a handful of places you'd want to be for your acute care or your rehab," Manley said, namely facilities with specialized trauma and rehabilitation units. The TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, where Giffords went for her rehab, is renowned for treatment of traumatic brain injuries. U.S. News & World Report lists another 18 of the top-ranked hospitals for rehabilitation.

Sherry Weersings

Jan. 17, 2012, 11:23 a.m.

This article is so true. My point is if we spend all this money and technology to save people with a TBI, why aren’t we spending the money for rehab coverage? What is the point? I had decent coverage for my son when he had a TBI ( I thank God that is was still 1 year shy of aging out of my policy) and I still had to fight for full coverage for him and the rehab he needed. I have met families where their loved one was so severely disabled after the TBI because they didn’t have the long term aggressive rehab coverage that a patient with TBI deserves. One man had no physical thereapy after his brain surgery at a major well known medical center because “they didn’t have the staff”. He ended up dying from blood clots from his legs from lack of activity went to his heart.
  The more aggressive early long term rehab that is available, the more the patient should get back. The insurance companies have to realize that all of these patients “plateau” (another name for getting kicked off of rehab coverage) and that it takes years to rehab someone from a TBI.
  My son, despite some continuing deficits, is now a working, taxpaying citizen and living on his own. We were told that he probably would need long term care since they didn’t think much recovery was likely.If the insurance company had their way he probably would have.

The Congress woman’s experience illustrates the often expressed belief of many that our Congress members have better insurance coverage than that available to the rest of us. Is it any wonder that so many are so resentful of them?

One other significant difference between Giffords and we mere mortals is that her treatment was a public affair.  If anything had gone wrong, the media would have swarmed the building and Congress would have demanded answers.

For anybody else?  If we die, we die.  It’s not like we’re puppies…

This article take courage to write and publish as Congresswoman Gifford has won the admiration and concern of a wide swath of Americans.  Though clearly you are not challenging the validity of her superb medical care in this 30 second bite world we live in there is such a norm for in depth work to be cut and chopped to be pressented in a derogatory way. 

It is a travesty that this work for TBIs is not more widely available but the current state of medical care in the US is a travesty as well.

Thank you for an article well written on a subject that is somewhat touchy.

Kate McCarron

Jan. 17, 2012, 2:10 p.m.

Thank you for bringing attention to the lack of coordinated care for brain injury rehabilitation and most importantly funding. I am a 5 year post stroke person not only surviving but thriving due to access to medical care and rehabilitation. But this is not the case for many due to no insurance coverage, lack of support and access to the latest advances in rehab. We need more voices on this subject.

” [1]. Holding town hall meetings [2] and panel discussions, she has argued that everyone should get the full spectrum of treatments [3]: from the intensive trauma care that saved her life to the rehabilitation therapies that are, albeit slowly, helping her return to living it. ”  WRONG!!  Giffords is NOT holding any meetings of any kind—she doesn’t even LIVE in Arizona any more, and hasn’t since she married Kelly. She lives in TEXAS where head trauma care is mandated.

Those “meetings” are held by her unelected Staff members and are not the same as the Congresswoman by any stretch.  The reality is that it has been a year and she is still holding on to the office that she cannot represent to the detriment of 710,000 of her constituents.  It is time for Gabby to resign and let the people of Southern AZ have representation in Congress as guarantees by the Constitution.

The better the insurance the better care you get. example-look how long the presidents live.  Rick in pa

Huffington Post Article:  TUCSON, Ariz.—“After a year of struggling to re-learn how to walk and speak, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords confidently climbed the steps on an outdoor stage on Sunday and led a crowd of hundreds in the Pledge of Allegiance, her words ringing out on a cold Tucson night just one year after she survived a gunshot to the head.

The remembrance at the University of Arizona culminated a day of events, some filled with sadness and regret, others with hope and joy.”

“And they chanted – “Gabby! Gabby! – when Giffords limped to the podium, and, after months of intensive speech therapy, recited the pledge with the audience, head held high and a smile on her face as she punched each word.

” ... with LIBERTY and JUSTICE for ALL!” the Democratic congresswoman shouted, almost defiantly.

The day included a church service that drew hundreds in the afternoon and a citywide bell-ringing at 10:11 a.m., the exact time a gunman started shooting at a Safeway political event on Jan. 8, 2011.”

@ AZ CD8 She hasn’t moved to Texas, she receives long-term rehabilitation in Texas. 

I don’t know how many of us could have recovered this much in this timeframe, but this is an inspirational story by any measure.

This is so very true. My sister suffered a severe brain injury 30 years ago. She survived and is living here with me. Her recovery was/is considered miraculous as she was expected to be a “vegetable” - that is the word the doctors used at the time. My main complaint today stems from the fact that none of the therapies she needs (still) or any of the comprehensive emotional/social/physical/occupational/neurological tests she needs (and I’ve had several physicians say she should be re-evaluated because it’s been almost 28 years since the last such evaluation) are covered by her insurance (which is Medicare for disability). And these tests cost thousands of dollars which we don’t have so therefore she can’t get the tests. She suffers from short term memory issues, is very easily frustrated, has temper fits for seemingly no reason, can act inappropriately in social situations, etc. Some of this nothing could be done about. However there may be treatments, either occupational or medicinal, that could help with other of her issues. But we will never know. And the person who suffers the most from this is me, her 24/7 live-in “caregiver” (she could not live alone). If they had removed part of my sister’s skull like they did Ms. Giffords, my sister would most likely have had a better outcome. But back then they treated brain injury just like stroke victims, and while some of the symptoms are similar, many are very different, and the treatment/therapy is also different. I am grateful my sister has a fairly decent quality of life at this moment in time, however I do fear for her future (I’m older), and do see some deterioration especially over the past couple of years, emotionally & socially. Unfortunately I have no way of getting her the help she needs.

This article went out on Facebook and probably Twitter.  About TIME.  I agree that the military has dropped the ball and gives the impression “looking the other way”

I have experience the affects of TBI several ways;  As a victim, survivor, tricare receipient, federal work comp, as a civilian military provider, a parent, both a surving relative and a death of a close relative.  The bottom line is lacking of Awareness and Protocal for Standards of Care.  Research and funding is only part of the issue.  Technical advancements have made life saving possible mor do today than yesteryears. 

My wife and I feel the powers to be look the other way.  Survivability was weak or not to happen.  Yet thru a strong advocacy I survived and Senator benefitted from this.  The military has started to be proactive addressing the mTBI and PTSD that accomanies the injury.  Athletic world and VA is starting to take notice.

Although my Life was spared and I have made a miraculous recovery from a death event,A Severe TBI and 2 week Coma,  I still have an uphill challeng, even as a federal employee the inconsistenancy of standard of care was is a shocker.  The providers protray the consensus Function is bleak.  Living the Victim to their own resources.   

When I inquired of my federal workers comp sponsered provider what they plan of treatment was going to be in regards to TBI rehab his answer was “what do you want be to do?”  I thought to myself “your the Doctor.”  That was 2 yrs going on 3 this April since my injury.  As a Health Care Provider for the Dept of Defense,  I immediately became familiarized what my own TBI patients had and were going thru. 

Fortunately, from a personal experience my medical and military training provided me the attitude to get better.  Although my employer has invested $350,000.00 they have provoided minimal TBI rehab.  Most effort has been toward physical rehab.  I self refered thru VA for behavioral intervention and although I have TRICARE coverage they denie services because its workers comp.  The other important factor is my wife being a strong Advocate.  Even with all this support elements the government terminated me, placed my workers comp in suspension and threatens my disability and future employment. 

With the statistics of TBI AND AFTERMATH of having a TBI I am amazed that more have not commented.  My survivval was rare and miraculous.  Awaken from my 2 week coma in a prestigous hospital, UNC I taken a back not feeling or able to move my extremities and no Halo, Tongs or even a C-Collar, I asked my wife DID THEY clear my neck.  They need to repeat MRI OR CAT SCAN.  I fell back to sleep, when I AWOKE I was in a C collar, recovering from C5-6 Fusion.  4 DAYS LATER evacuated to home state and released from inpatient care a month later.  The provider did inform my wife not to expect much on improvement.  I am now unemployed and unable to return to my medical profession that I was striving for. 

I unlike many don’t befault the Senator for staying on as long as see can.  The earlier we can communicate our goals the better progress we will acquire.  TBI is a life time ordeal and changing alteration of life.

Arizona and North Carolina are negative toward TBI,  WHICH IS UNFORTUNATE becuse most TBI vICTIMS CAN’T just pick up and move. Therefore advocacy and understanding are the skills used by many.  Thru determination and Awareness their can be a larger amount of survivors.

Joanne Kennel

Jan. 17, 2012, 4:22 p.m.

My husband suffered a catastrophic brain injury in 1999 in an accident .  Car insurance dropped him and health insurance dropped him like a hot potato after his other injuries healed.  Rehab paid for his last month of therapy.  He was sent home with no short or long term memory.  Took me a year of hell to get this 42 year old man into a nursing home.  We couldn’t take care of him and we couldn’t afford any kind of therapy.  It’s a sad situation!

Joanne K.  Thanks for sharing.  From your comment it seems the culprit is the Insurance Companies.  Sorry to hear about your ordeal.  Have you sought or belong to a support group.  I am new to this Brain Injury as a Victim, and even less experience professiolly.  What keeps my head above water is realizing how worse off I could of been and the supportive nature of family and friends.  Wish you and husband the best.

We need to and we can take private guns away from global streets, starting from North-America, just in one decade of time.

Max,
It was a moving day when Gabby came BACK to Tucson from HOUSTON Texas where she LIVEs to honor and eulogize the other victims.  I was there.

But that has nothing to do with the fact that the Constitution guarantees We, the Pople resentation in Congress.  The people in CD8 have not had representation for a year and there have been critical issues in this area—which is ON the border—that we have been left high and dry because we did not have a voice in Congress.  Why do you begrudge 710,000 people their Constitutional rights??  Is the Congresswoman more important that the people she was elected to represent?  Would YOUR employer pay your full salary, provide 100% of your medical care, and hold your job until YOU decide you want it back when your employer doesn’t know if you will be capable of performing the job when you get back??

Her recovery to this point is no more miraculous that the others that are cited here.  We all have a very strong will to live, especially someone in their prime of life. The difference is the level of care that we receive.  Nick’s story is much more typical of the Fed’l gov’ts real level of aftercare and smlowerly’s sister is what we can all expect from Obama care. 

The point of the story, whether intended or not,  is not Giffords recovery, but the disparity of the medical services for severe head trauma received based on who you are.  The comments that follow are further proof that you get the best care YOU can pay for—not what the gov’t hands out or that an insurance company will cover.

I don’t know what the solution is. I just know that we have a ruling elite class that has guaranteed their own medical care that is far superior to what the common people can expect under the best of circumstances. To say that under the best care in the world, Giffords recovery is “miraculous” is disengenuous.  It is exactly what should be expected regardless of who you are.

To the other people on this thread who are suffering because of your inability to get the kind of care you should get to improve your quality of life:  Use this article in your own areas to point up the disparities of care in your local media and the problems you have encountered
with those who have totally let you down, like the insurance companies.  Contrast it with the care a Federal Official gets and the progress that Giffords has made and you could too with the same rehab!!  God bless!!


****
Shahislam:  come and get ‘em!

Brett The Brat

Jan. 17, 2012, 10:04 p.m.

Yes I was wondering what Gifford was doing for the people during this time but I am SURE someone has a rubber stamp and aides for your area.  But enough of that.  For too long we have been withhout real representation.  There are either too many or too little representatives to cover the amount of people who want their voices heard.  The congressional people do not pay attention to us they pay attention to LOBBYISTS.  We need to flat out get rid of ALL lobbyists and if LOBBYISTS want to lobby they should talk to the people who VOTE!  Another thing that should be done is to BAN short selling anything.  That will fix a bunch of issues dragging down this country.

Next to fix the healthcare system we should not allow Doctors to serve on Boards of Pharmacutical companies nor should we allow them to be served by these Same Companies in their office.  The government should get the free samples and pass them out to the Doctors.  Drug commercials on TV should not be allowed.  Nor should the Internet Pharmacies unless investigated by the Government and have an FDA Certificate that leads to the FDA site saying they have approval to sell Drugs that have PURE ingredients that are listed for example Viagra so no fakes are being sold and hurting people.

Medical Proceedures should be vetted and more doctors forced to have hands on guided proceedures until they have proven themselves to be fit.  Doctors should be forced to take Morals classes as well.  Medical lawsuits need to come in line with living expenses and medical care for malpractice only unless said malpractice causes the patient to no longer be able to function as an employee at their current job or in the case of children it would have to cover them for their entire life.  Once a doctor creates ONE incidence of malpractice where it is so blatant he causes a patient to DIE or to no longer be able to work, he should be out the DOOR.  Same for Nurses.  Force them to work for the person who cannot or the family that is without their mother or father.  Should be making Michael Jackson’s doctor dig ditches, write books anything other than doctoring and every dime go to Michaels family.
Less lawsuits means healthcare will cost less.  Everyone should be able to see the most talented doctors there are.  But the bad ones need to be flushed along with the bad assistants, bad case workers for the Social Services and so on. 
The poor are being harrassed by states and those medically and financially unable to buy their medications without medicare/medicade are having their medicines withheld because of PAPERWORK and bad case workers holding everything against them from you need another doctors “evaluation” to things they make up.  And that is ADULT ABUSE plain and simple.  And if they did the same to me I would have sued the state again causing more money to be wasted.  What do they tell people with heart meds?  OH GO see the doctor again.  They dont have to buy the medications if they die from a heartattack because they pissed them off again.
And I am glad to see Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is getting better good for her and its a sad story.  But Everyone needs healthcare in America sooner or later in life and we do not need to be Bankrupted when it happens.  Or we can go back to the days of yore and all die off between 40 and 60.  Be made into Soylent Green, heck they have to make those Nuggets at the restaurant out of something.

Disparity of care I agree is the main emphasize of this story.  The Senator hasn’t given up her fight to be in the here and now.  As the Brain Injured can attest what the Congress Women is doing is astronomical and encouraging for her, family and other brain injured.  I don’t know why she hasn’t resigned her position.  I see her as a representative of the people and expect no less.  No one knows how much she can recover or expected to recover,  I don’t even think that the medical staff can say for sure.  However, I speak from the perspective of a TBI survivor who beat the odds.  I am not and don’t intend to be an Arizona resident,  i consiered breifly relocation there, prior to my injury.  Being hispanic I find it not a welcoming change and the attitude toward TBI and Veteran concerns voiced in the current media and the lack of understanding of TBI by the Lawyers and Insurance carriers are a deciding factor.  My injury took my profession and future 10 years away from me.  No one knows what the future will bring but 5 million effected by TBI, 200,000 veterans and one senator living to maximize rehab hopefully Awareness will overcome the disparity.

Brett—you don’t get it. Yes, Giffords staff has been in DC and back and forth to Houston almost daily BUT there is no one elected by the people except for Gabrielle Giffords—-we did not elect her staff and they do not have the same sway with the other Representatives as Giffords does.  In Congress they can sharpen pencils and that is IT. 

The Constitution guarantees that every person in the US is represented in Congress through their elected Representatives.  We are being denied our Constitutional rights.  Giffords is not the first to be infirmed while in office.  There have been 3 others in the last 10 years which has brought attention to the fact that unless the Rep/Senator resigns We, the People, can do NOTHING. Nobody can do anything except wait in direct violation of the Constitution.  The Founding Fathers expected the elected to consider those they represent when issues like this happen….... they don’t.  They think THEY own the seats.  There is a mind set in DC that afflicts all when they start drinking the water.

Nick,  From the article it appears that there are states that cover medical/rehab for TBI’s like Texas.  The question would be if they will take some one who moves to the state under their coverage or if there is a residency requirement, If you are considering a relocation that would be something to consider. 

Heck, anyone considering a move should look real hard at Texas for a number of reasons but mostly because they have a going economy that is not reliant on the US economy and are pretty autonomous.  They are pretty self sufficient within their state boundaries.  Texs has focused on their Health Care and have passed Tort Reform laws and made it very attractive for Doctors to practice there.  That may be the reason they can offer rehab services for TBI patients.

I suggest that you contact Rep Giffords and tell her what you have posted here.  If there is something that can be done—even though you are not an AZ resident—I would believe that she would give you some advice.  If she is as “there” as her staff says she is I can tell you that her strong suit has been working for Vets and those having problems with the Fed’s—- staff functions to be sure but she gives them latitude to do whatever it takes…... Good luck.

Rep Gabrielle Giffords
3945 E. Ft Lowell Rd Suite 211
Tucson, AZ 85712
520-881-3588   fax 520-322-9490

@AZ CD8
You say “The comments that follow are further proof that you get the best care YOU can pay for—not what the gov’t hands out or that an insurance company will cover.”

It seems the exact opposite to me: to get the best care, you need a gov’t handout (like in the case of Rep. Giffords) or good insurance coverage.

Your resentment towards Giffords’ situation is obvious: you want her to resign so you have have proper representation in Congress.  But you don’t seems to care about what would happen to her life and medical care if she did that.  Would you tell Nick the same thing: best that he was let go from his gov’t job and had his workman’s comp terminated?  Why ask the same of Giffords? 

Ah! Perhaps it is because she’s a strong ‘ObamaCare’ supporter, which you so casually, and probably inaccurately, derided.  How could a story that has happened far enough in the past to be a comment here be at all related to ObamaCare?

Instead of asking Giffords to resign, why don’t you demand the same level of care she is receiving be available to all Americans, so that people like Nick get decent care, when they are forced out of their job.

Go ahead, move to Texas.  It sounds like it’s a better fit for you, Texas, and AZ-8.

BHGG,
Shows how little you know about how Congress writes their own laws to benefit themselves.  Giffords caliber of care will continue long after she is out of the House because her medical care is permanent…unlike yours, and it is anything but a hand out—its paid for by YOU.

Your insurance company can cancell you for any reason unless there are state statutes to forbid it and they will still find ways around that.  If you will read above there are comments to attest to that fact

So whether she resigns or not she is covered and her first class medical care will continue with out a hiccup for life..  If you want the same coverage you have to have cash in the bank to cover your medical expenses once your coverage runs out—either because you have reached your lifetime cap or your insurance company finds a loop hole and cancels your coverage.

Giffords, on the other hand,  can never be cancelled because the members of the House and Senate wrote themselves laws that doesn’t allow that to happen.  Giffords was not in Congress when those benefits were passed but she still gets to enjoy the perks.  Several of the current crop of legislators have opted out of both their pension plan and the blue ribbon medical coverage—true patriots. She had the same option and chose to take taxpayer perks for the rest of her life. 

AND by staying in office until January 5th 2012 she is now fullly vested in the Congressional pension plan which is the reason that she didn’t resign until then.  Can you be fully vested in your pension plan after 5 years—-that you contributed little to and never have to put another penny into??  and receive over $100,000 per year for your retirement?

My distain is not for Giffords but for the corruption in DC from elected officials who won’t do the same for the people they represent—-“let them eat cake!”

As for Obamacare—I’ve read the bill, I know what is in it and I know that full implementation will totally bankrupt this country and will cost $3 trillion per year….The debt is over $15.2 trilliion now add $3trill every year starting in 2013—-where do you think the money is going to come from?  Future generations, until they are paying 100% of their income to cover yourthat you receive healthcare if Obamacare is implemented.
.
While health care for everyone in the US,such as Giffords enjoys, is utopia it is not sustainable as every other country in the world has figured out and is going back to free markets. 
The health care system was broken because of federal regulations and mandates, which should have been removed, rescinded and revoked, instead of creating the monster Obamacare.

The entire system in DC is what is broken. The only thing that will fix it is when the congress critters remember that they are there to serve, not to serve themselves.  In a free market system there would be services available for Nick gratis by hospitals, therapists and other health care providers, like it used to be.  Not possible in this day because everyone wants to sue if they don’t get perfect results. 
Tort reform would have gone a lot farther to solve the health care problem that obamacare.

Great article! I love it.

I have recovered better than expected but it has cost my family and me a large sum of revenue and our dreams.  But I am still around and capable to dream other goals and enjoy each others company. 

Yet the cost, because it is federal workers comp has really cost the tax payer an excessive amount.  Federal Workers Comp dictates the location, type and frequency of therapy and at which medicare facility.  Because it is Federal Comp the provider has to Agree to reimbursement. 

The article’s and my issue is not that the Senator’s recovering better than most,  because she had the best money could buy.  The issue was with immediate skilled care being provided above and beyond what the regular person has access and available and can be afforded.  She made such great advancement.  One can only hope medicine can learn from this ordeal and help others. Her recovery and response that is the story.  Everyone should expect the same access to care rather a Senator, CEO, Ruler of another Country, Professional Sports figure or a 10 year old baseball little leaguer.  The access of care and survivability should be the same with the same availability and standard of care. 

I was not as surprised about being terminated,  as I was when my case manager informed me “I could not afford an attorney to ensure my rights were excercised”.  Later I found that to be true,  as I would require a $15000.00 retainer fee for legal representation by a lawyer that was allowed to handle specifically Federal Workers Compensation, with-in this state.  To make it more challenging there are only 3 statewide lawyers allowed to take federal work comp.  Since it is workcomp Tricare can deny coverage and participation.  Therefore, I was required to seek 3rd party legal action from the other party’s Insurance Carrier.  But that state’s law favored the driver and not me the pedestrian and didnot allow my case to be heard and ruled against my claim before a Summary Court.  Although the U.S. Government Office of the Solicitor mandated I seek restitution and compensation for the Government of which they would confiscate my share.  The government didn’t provide assistance or support. 

The world of TBI is unfair in so many ways.  If you don’t have PTSD from your injury you’ll have it from the frustration acquired thru dealing with Insurance, lack of funding and providers preconceived judgement of your chances for survival.

Fortunately for me I’ve lived my next 30 years, and have made it to 60 yrs old.  I have no desire to relocate, or leave my residence. A prior military now retired have done my travel. 

Senator Gifford’s staff hopefully monitor’s this story and I hope it raises more concerns of what is the right action to take than rather Obama Care is right or wrong.  Thankyou for the address and advise. 

The main message here is that after the emergency care and the person is stabilized,  is return to a functional meaning of life both Vocationally and Socially.  This needs to be started early as possible and within the first year of injury.

@ Dear AZ CD8,
Thank you soooooo much for asking. God exists and if approved, surely I will come and get them but we Need Obama’s hand at our human end with only 50% power.
More to come! And many may get surprised by start of totally unexpected positive changes.
I really appriciate your wise comment AZ CD8.

January 18, 2012
I shake my head in disbelief every time I see Gabby, who—thankful to Jesus—survived, and think about 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green (who did not), and the other five dead and twelve others shot who did survived (I did a little research on the numbers, please forgive me if inaccurate), no one can begrudge Gabby getting the best care available, but that same level of medical care should be available to every American! Rick Norlund

AZ CD8:  Apparently, you aren’t aware that the current rules of Obama’s healthcare states that insurance companies can no longer terminate you after an incident like Senator Gifford’s suffered, nor can they deny you insurance coverage any longer for a preexisting condition. 

Secondly, I laugh when you say that the healthcare plan will cost us more money….are you aware that we are paying more and more money each year for healthcare, and until something is done about that (and the healthcare bill addresses that), costs will keep rising and you will keep paying more and more for your healthcare insurance either individually or through your employment.

Thirdly, unless you don’t care about having your taxpayer money going to pay for uninsured people going into the ERs for headaches, etc., because they don’t have healthcare insurance, then I’m all for your side; however, I would prefer that they be allowed to purchase low-cost healthcare insurance so they can go to an actual physician and have their insurance pay for it….rather than my taxpayer dollars paying for them!!  With everyone being required to have healthcare insurance, it will give insurance companies a bigger “pool” of insureds, which allows them to charge lower rates to the people they are insuring.  Sure, there are gong to be some rising costs at first with the new bill, but these costs will flatten out after the program goes into full affect.

AZ-CD8, respectfully— you are talking out both sides of your mouth! To all—sorry this article is long, if you are progressive please read it. In your January 17, 2012, 9:01 PM posting you say “Use this article in your own areas to point up the disparities of care in your local media and the problems you have encountered with those who have totally let you down, like the insurance companies.” [italics added for emphasis] The premier free market capitalist way of providing health care to Americans is—a for profit driven means of providing health care for Americans by and through—for profit insurance companies. Then in your 2:37 AM posting today you say “Your insurance company can cancell [sic] you for any reason unless there are state statutes to forbid it and they will still find ways around that.”, I agree, but not toooo assuring a comment by you for this premier capitalist means of providing health care to Americans. Then in your 3:27 AM posting “The health care system was broken [the old system] because of federal regulations and mandates, which should have been removed, rescinded and revoked, instead of creating the monster Obamacare.”, stated a bit differently – let the insurance companies do whatever they want, without regulation, i.e., without state laws to prohibit cancellation, even though, as you point out, insurance companies find ways around these regulation know as laws.

We live in a Capitalist society where the NIH (National Institutes of Health) uses US tax dollars to create drugs, then licenses drug companies to make those drugs and reap all the billions in profits. We also live on a country where federally funded schools develop drugs, they license drug companies to make those drugs where both of those parties profit from the federal tax dollar that paid for the development of those drugs, what do we get as citizens, we get to pay the outrageous prices for these drugs developed with our tax dollars—and when the drug companies decide that they are not making enough money from a drug – not that they make no money from the drug – of that it costs them money to produce – but not enough money – they halt production, that’s what for profit gets you in a market capitalist driven society wherein their almighty god [lower case g] is greedy profits. I mean really, why do you think that so many regulations of all kinds were put into place after the ’29 crash of the stocks market and resulting ten year depression that followed? Not unlike the Ludlow Massacre “The face-off raged for fourteen hours, during which the miners’ tent colony was pelted with machine gun fire and ultimately torched by the state militia. A number of people were killed, among them two women and eleven children who suffocated in a pit they had dug under their tent. The deaths were blamed on John D. Rockefeller Jr. “ (see http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/rockefellers/sfeature/sf_8.html) What happned to the murders of these miners, nothing. If you want to learn how another for profit capitalist company commonly called “Wal-Mart” plunders the US, state and local treasuries read this article and do a little research of your own. (see http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Corporate_Welfare/WalMart_Welfare.html) Americans should worry less about the potential [in the future] of a social [meaning “relating to human society and how it is organized’] socialist society in America and worry about the existing corporate socialist society we do live in, wherein companies like Wal-Mart plunder federal, state and local treasuries through our current welfare system [corporate socialism] for the wealthy – uncommonly called corporate welfare or corporate socialism, more commonly called subsidies. As stated from the thirdworldtraveler.com article above “ . . . in Sharon Springs, N.Y., a [Wal-Mart] distribution center made a deal with an industrial development agency for the agency to hold the legal title to the facility so the corporation could [legally mind you] evade property taxes. Good Jobs First estimates that Wal-Mart will save about $46 million over the life of this one agreement.” One agreement out of thousands, no wonder Wal-Mart shareholders are doing so well, the American tax payer provides nearly unlimited and unchecked welfare to this company and its stock. Wal-Mart is not the problem it is only one of thousands of symptoms of the problem uncommonly known as corporate welfare.


To-be-continued, Rick Norlund

And now the rest of the rant!

Right—now as I write this article—Wikipedia and hundreds of other websites are shut down to protest another Republican corporate welfare program—the “Protect IP Act” now before congress – which if passed will allow the government, without court order, to shut down websites based on—complaints only—by people with money, lots of money.

If you want to learn about the, if I recall right, fatal shooting of workmen at the Ford plant “ . . . the violence escalated rapidly and culminated in the police and plant security guards . . .[?]”
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Ford_Motor_Company • when its up and running at 12:01am tomorrow. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Ford_Motor_Company)

Not only are the civil laws crafted to protect the rich and their property, tax laws are designed, especially since Reagan (the biggest tax and spend liberal ever), to benefit the rich. As for criminal law, ask yourself, what happens to the rich like Rockefeller and Ford, nothing. Why was Bernie Madoff sentenced to 150years(?) (see http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/30/business/30madoff.html?pagewanted=all) because he ripped off average Americans, no because he ripped off billionaires and multi-multi millionaires. What’s happening – criminally speaking – to the rich that ripped off average Americans in the stock market, the mortgage marker, the banking industry(?) nothing, in fact – the Obama administration has crafted a civil deal – through the US Department of Justice—letting these criminals off the hook for any criminal prosecution, if you don’t like this tell the President to hold these crooks accountable at 202-456-1111—TTY/TTD 202-456-6213.

When Reagan took office there were 50 billionaires in the US, today Wikipedia says that there are 415 billionaires in the US. While most Americans got poorer during the last year, Wikipedia reports that 2/3 of billionaires got richer, I don’t think current tax law has hurt them at all, yet Republicans would lower their taxes even more. I mean really – if the rich getting richer created jobs there’d be overemployment in America, there’d be no illegal alien debate because we’d be clamoring for alien workers from around the world.

I could rant on and on about how Reagan lowered the top tax rate on top dollars earned income from 70%, already down from the 90% of years earlier – to approximately 37% (sorry Wikipedia is down protesting the Republican “Protect IP Act”) How Bush I lowered the tax rate on unearned income to 15% [the swirl around Romney right now is the Republican 15% tax he pays on his unearned income] and Republicans want to lower taxes on the rich even more. I could rant about Bush II and his charging two wars to the US credit card that Republican want to blame on Obama now – on Romney blaming Obama for getting out of Iraq on Bush II’s time schedule, apparently Romney would still have our kids and grandkids dying in Iraq for what purpose only Jesus knows!

Though I’m changing my affiliation with the Democrats to Independent – you see, Democrats are only marginally better than Republicans, Obama is a white man in dark skin, raised by his white mother and grandmother, and he’s a Republican in Democrat’s clothing. Pelosi is a plunder of wall street with her apparently insider trading of stock as reported by 60 minutes a few Sundays ago. These people are the problem, not the solution!

Sincerely, Rick Norlund

Witnessing Rep. Giffords’ recovery from her tragic brain injury has been nothing less than inspiring. Very few Americans, however, have access to the breadth of treatment and rehabilitation options that were available to Rep. Giffords. Most private and public health insurers severely limit the benefits they provide and the costs they cover. These restrictions greatly hamper a patient’s chance to make a full recovery—which, in turn, impacts virtually every aspect of their existence, from quality of life, to productivity in the workplace, to long-term dependence on public assistance.

In my position as president of a rehabilitation facility for individuals with brain injuries—established by my mother after the brain-injury-related death of my brother—I see the positive impact our therapies have on patients on a daily basis. With the proper treatment and rehabilitation over a period of time, patients improve significantly—physically and cognitively. Most patients who join us within a year of their injury see dramatic improvements in their quality of life and level of independence. With improved access to care, more individuals with brain injuries will be afforded the same opportunity to once again become an active, integrated and vital member of society.

Together, we can make an impact by joining advocacy organizations, learning as much as possible about brain injury, and sharing personal experiences with lawmakers to change legislation and improve funding.

Please take this opportunity to make a difference, and share your concerns and ideas through the following channels:

Congressional Brain Injury Task Force: http://pascrell.house.gov/work/braininjury.shtml

Your local legislator:  http://thomas.loc.gov/home/state-legislatures.html

Thank you,

Kent Hayden
President, Pate Rehabilitation
Dallas, TX
http://www.paterehab.com
800-992-1149
972-241-9334

This is a very interesting conversation. I think one of the most important things to TBI recovery is having someone (in my sister’s case it was me, my now ex, and his father who dealt with lawyers to get my sister a settlement as she was hit by a volunteer fireman working for a town in Maine) as an advocate. Up until my sister’s accident I had no experience dealing with hospitals, but when her life and recover were at stake I lost my fear. My grandmother, a very spiritual woman, had taught me that love is the most powerful force in the universe, and that God is Love, and so I absolutely know without a doubt that prayer played a huge role in my sister’s recovery. Also our mother, who had cancer at the time, died after my sister had been in a coma for 2 weeks. MJ came out of the coma (though I couldn’t tell, the doctors could) 2 hours to the minute after our mother died. There was a lot of spiritual things going on at that time. I think my sister received quite excellent care after the accident and pretty much until she was released from the rehab hospital. Her accident was in June and she went home with our father in March of the following year, so it was a long haul.

My issues are with follow-up care once the patient is home. Just because someone can go to the bathroom, get themselves dressed, carry on somewhat of a conversation (albiet with many repetitions) doesn’t mean they are “fine”. And what’s frustrating to me is that my sister has Medicare because of her disability, which was caused by the head injury, but it won’t cover the very things she needs as a result of her accident. That makes no sense to me. But then there are many, many things that don’t make sense to me about this country’s so-called heath care system. And I hate to think about what would have happened to her, or one of my sons who are more the age my sister was when her accident occurred, if the accident happened today. There is no way she would have gotten the care she did because her insurance was totally inadequate. But times were different then, and health care was much less expensive. What I do know for a fact, however, is that because she survived and made such an amazing recovery, her case was written up in medical journals, and they also used some experimental drug protocols when she was still in the coma that I understand are still used today. I’m in the process of writing a book about this experience, from my perspective. Losing our mother to cancer, and me being pregnant with my third son, my sister in a coma then her long recovery, were intense. So I write in spurts, it may take a while to finish. Thirty years after my sister’s accident it seems that things haven’t progressed nearly fast enough, and hearing the experiences of returning veterans with TBI or PTSD and the struggles they have to go through to get the care they need is heartbreaking.

Rick, that’s exactly the problem.  Congress has passed laws (as employee, employer, advocate, and union, rolled into one) that their office gets them royal treatment while telling us how much of our income we should be setting aside to insure against minimal care (with companies whose entire business is built around NOT paying, no less).

It’s not that Giffords doesn’t deserve this or that.  It’s that the media paints her as a miracle, when the miracle is entirely scientific:  The taxpayers spent a ton of money making sure her care was quicker and more effective than any of us could ever get as we hack through corporate bureaucracies designed to extract money from us.

In other words, the problem is that we’re effectively serving her (and everyone in Congress), when she’s supposed to be working for the electorate, which (taking AZ CD8 at his word) hasn’t even been happening in her health.

Meanwhile, soldiers with brain injuries?  People who we literally sent into danger with a high expectation of injury?  Eh…

well, most of her constituents dont get shot in the skull by a crazed republican, so its ok.

John, I don’t know if you saw the 60 Minute piece a few weeks ago about insider trading of stocks by congress people, well it seems that Pelosi has—along with many (if not most) of her colleagues – regularly trade in stocks on insider information that they get in their positions of power, and not at all illegally mind you! Though you may have heard about the recent insider trading bust in New York. (see http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2012/01/18/20120118men-charged-insider-trading.html)

Where you and I’d go to jail for the insider trading that Pelosi and her cronies are free to do every day – you see—they have passed laws to protect themselves from such prosecutions.

When Hitler murdered 7 million Jews and probable as many as 13 million others in his gas chambers – guess what(?) it was all legal, at least within the confines of the German government. It was only the international community after the war that held them accountable. We need to do the same here and now, elect people who will hold—retroactively—Pelosi and her cronies, Democrats and Republicans alike, for this criminal conduct – protected only by very special interest laws to protect their wrong doings!

This conversation has gotten interesting all right.  Medical care is not what it ought to be for the people of this nation.  But I have stopped caring or trying to change the policies of this country.  I don’t vote either, and I’ll tell ou why.  I believe that to vote would be a singular expression that this system can serve my needs physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Now the last one is something that many say they get from another source.  But why did Jesus come?  It was to establish and report the establishment of a new government.  He taught his followers to pray for that “kingdom”.  So why worry about these kingdoms?  The senators and presidents and dictators will soon be done away with anyway by Christ who is the only one apointed by god to rule mankind.  Christ showed that he could heal all sorts of infirmities when he was here on earth and so the only thing to worry about now is whether or not you are to be found worthy of life on earth when he comes.  Let the authorities and commercial pigs cheat and steal, god will hold them to account.  Just keep your distance so as not to be sharers with them when he does.

JamesD2, do you think that Jesus suffered in his day to day life any less than we do(?) not counting the passion and the events immediately preceding it? I believe that He had the same ups and downs, day to day, as we experience. Rick

In order for us all to get great cutting edge medical care, someone extremely wealthy or extremely well know has to have been afflicted.  If Franklin Roosevelt hadn’t had polio, we may still be looking for a cure. Gabrielle Giffords just may be the spark that turns the tide.

Indeed.  My son couldn’t get more than 20 physical therapy visits a year when he had surgery for a brain tumor.  It wasn’t TBI, but just as devastating.  How does one recover fully under those conditions?!

A.K.A.  RetUSAVet92….........Sorry to have so much opinions to share.  My TBI seems to open my thoughts and efforts to speak my mind.  @James,  your comments imply a message as if you have been reading Revelations.  My belief has been now for 60 yrs what will happen will happen.  Love your neighbor, do onto others as you would do own to you.  My national heritage, lack of funds and guidance I chose military service instead of study to become a Physician.  But ended being a mid-level provider with prior experience as medic, nurse, EMT and military jack of all trades.  Prior to my Severe TBI , which was many moons way back, I had told my wife if ever I am injured severely or comatose do not shut off machines, pull plug or give up on me..  She was and still my Advocate.  Fortunately, she constant critiqued the providers, nurses and admin to do what ever needed to help me recover. Being very blunt and questioning the care and nursing provided was instrumental to my survival.  She had interceeded to the point that she fired head nuero-surgeon of the service.  My response, You did what.  Although I have similar deficits of a stroke patient which resulted in termination of my profession, employment and disability, my abilities from a TBI perspective are more like the simple Concussion than called a mTBI.  Our Soldiers who have a mild TBI OR WHAT is called “Just a Concussion and will resolve and improve 3-6 months gone in 12 months.”  Some drive on, others don’t.  Later on more than 12-15 months, some 1-3 yrs after redeployment they are confused and hurting physically and emotional unknowingly that they received a direct brain injury.  Imagine you strike your knee or elbow,  sure it hurts but we laugh it up.  Now think about striking your brain, resulting in amnesia, lack of concentration, loss of ability to make appropriate or correct decisions,  being unsure, forgetful, frustrated and eventually anger. Family discord, poor decision making and overlapping PTSD.  Some have this 2, 3, 6 yrs after the alleged simple concussion.  Welcome to the TBI world.  If your one of 5 million survivors you are sent home because you lucked out and survived,  but being neither famous, rich or in a position of importance the rehab comes to an end and everyone is on their own.  Probably don’t remember who Jesus was or even God.  If you believe in the power of prayer / how does this help?  When more likely a person suffering from TBI will have forgotten what they were praying for.  I agree that it may take someone in an important position to bring appropriate light and effectiveness to therapy and treatment for a TBI.  NO MATTER the Financial status.  Technology has improved to a degree one who is injured has a better chance of making it out of ER or Surgery,  Availability to complete rehab needs improvement, accessability and involvement.  Sorry,  Enuff said…MY Injury was so unexpected that it came from out of the blue, Murphies Law,  I wouldn’t claim or denie Jesus was instrumental to my survival.  But mankind especially the Americans and those that love and support freedom need to insure ALL have AVAILABLE the resources to insure the best effort of retuirning an injured person to normalcy is available.  Be Persistant.

I question the expected cost of treatment and rehabilitation of a patient with a brain injury. For the average person with a brain injury, the system doesn’t let them have enough therapy and rehabilitation to reach half of $1 million dollar level. Had TIRR done anything wrong with Gabby, the hospital would have made front page news and reporters would still be camped out there.

Early and extensive therapy are the keys to success. Unfortunately, the medical profession and the rehab hospitals do not intervene early enough with therapies. I spent over 6000 hours taking care of my daughter. What I found is a massive disparity of knowledge for rehabilitation of anyone with a brain injury. I believe many of the ICU docs and CCU docs are not qualified in brain injury rehab. Many of the doctors in so-called rehab hospitals do not have a brain injury certification either.

I tried repeatedly to get my daughter accepted by a brain injury hospital, including TIRR, Craig, Baylor, and Shepherds. One told me that my daughter just needed time and would not give her therapists any idea on what to do to help her. At first they said she needed to be a Rancho Level IV. We worked hard to get her there. Then the same hospital wouldn’t take her because a Rancho Level IV was as far as they would have done for her. They were irritated because I sent a video of how well she was doing in her therapies. The doctor sent word, “We don’t do evaluations that way.”

I did gain one valuable piece of information from one of the evaluators. I expect the hospitals to deny this exists. They have a quota on the types of brain injury patient they take. They accept 65% TBI and only 35% ABI (per requirement to gain Federal tax dollars) AND, she said they were in Congress now trying to get the quota of ABI reduced. They do not want to take them at all. If successful, what this can mean is that any brain injury caused by a stroke, heart attack, or by other health causes can and probably will be denied treatment by insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid.

I believe tha a denial for rehab from a brain injury rehab hospital has more to do with this quota than the patient.

The majoriy of my daughter’s medical expenses were caused NOT by her brain injury, but by doctors who gave the wrong medicines that caused internal bleeding, blood clots, and almost sent her into a heart attack because of potassium imbalance. She suffered numerous bouts with C-Diff and twice had MRSA, all at the hands of facilities. The CDC numbers on hospital acquired infections are not complete. There is no ICD-9 code for these infections and hospitals do not have to report them.

I could have saved the system thousands of dollars. I wanted to bring my daughter home. They hung onto her, I believe, because she was a bed filled and income for the facilities. I could certainly have done a better job with her personal care. She would not have had bed sores or infections around her PEG tube, all caused by lazy staff who did not take the best of care of her.

In facilities, a patient with a brain injury is the last to receive care in many facilities. They are often repositioned with their heads against the railing. The facilities document what they were supposed to do for the patient. If you observe what is happening, the documentation is far different than what events DID happen.

Some transplants can cost $1 million in the first year or two. A baby born 8 weeks premature can reach that expense, just for the initial hospital care, not counting the lifetime expense of any health problems. Yet, suffer a brain injury, and the treatment becomes a “budget issue” and patients across this country are effectively warehoused in America’s armpit nursing homes.

A patient dies with a brain injury many times, not because of the brain injury, but because lazy staff will not get them out of bed so their lungs can expand. If family isn’t present, then the patients really suffer.

My daughter was treated in a facility by a “board certified” internist/pediatrician. His internist certification expired three years before and he had no board certification for pediatrics. States do not check board certification status. Those are “self-reported.” BTW. My daughter was not a pediatric case. She wasn’t born with a brain injury. She suffered an anoxic brain injury following a minor surgery for which no one accepts responsiblity. She almost had her Master’s and was treated in most facilities as if she were gum on the bottom of their shoes.

One persistent woman got God out of our schools. I want to get justice for brain injury patients in this God-forsaken system. I have only one thing left to do in my life. To give my daughter’s life meaning.I CAN go to Congress. I cannot afford a lobbyist, but I can make my presence known.

Susan Meeker-Lowry

Jan. 23, 2012, 11:16 a.m.

PGD: My heart goes out to you.

She is taking a break when it’s high time to take steps for banning private guns on the US households by wise initiatives of a new set of judges and law makers.

Supreem Court means a few human heads that can be educated but not enough wise. Western laws should be modified to become simple again. Knowing that the Basic laws will gradually get complicates to the point of returning to the basic again and that’s the situation now
.It will be unfortunate for honest portion of the Public if Supreem Court protects criminal minded guys through the loopholes of laws written in the man-made books.

sgreco: just to clarify—-Jared Loughner who shot Giffords was NOT politically motivated when he shot Giffords. He is mentally deranged and it was personal with her over a 2 year period where he thought she slighted him.  It was an “opportunity shooting” that happened just a couple of blocks from his house.  IF you want to blame someone BLAME the Pima County Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik (democrat) who did NOT have security available for the Congresswoman when she was in his jurisdiction. When Giffords is in Cochise County Sheriff Larry Devers (Republican) jurisdiction she ALWAYS has had security present.  To say that either the Republicans or the TEA Party had anything to do with this abhorrent situation just shows your ignorance.

**************

I have been better educated by this thread on brain injuries than any score of articles about the subject. Thank you all for sharing your lives and struggles for your loved ones. It is appalling what has been written here as each of you has described the direction that health care is going—not just for brain injuries but for ALL health care under the “Affordable Health Care Act.” 
This was designed around the “Complete Lives System” of Dr Ezekiel Emanuel (yes, Rahn’s brother) which evalutates the worth of the patient to the “collective” benefit they will provide to the government for the rest of their lives.  Someone who is 65 with an injury identical to a 20 year old with the same prognosis, has less value than someone who is 20 based on what they CAN contribute vs. what they have contributed….and the scale goes down from there.  So, yes, there are “death panels” written into the Health Care bill and each of you has already experienced the precursor to the intent of the HC bill in the future….. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203706604574374463280098676.html

....and that is where your money comes into play in universal health care and in medical care in general today.  If you have it, or are willing to spend everything you have, you can get the same care as Gabby, or the care you need to make a full recovery.  This concept is true throughout history—it is how it has always been to some degree, except that medical care has progressed phenomenonly over the last 50 years.  Even the common or basic care received is better than it has ever been.

Where WE fail as a nation is to our veterans who we send into harms way and then do not honor our obligations when they are maimed or brain injured,  For them, the US should pull out all the stops regardless of the veterans economic situation or the length of time in the service or when the “injury” manifests.  There should be no defining factors other than to return them “whole”.  The Wounded Warriors Project, a non-profit charity, http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ 
has stepped up to fill the abyss between the government health care providers and the limits put on their care.  Donations are accepted gladly.

Nick, I don’t know if you have contacted them but you might find some resources through them.    I know your injuries were a long time ago but I don’t think they discriminate.  You are my hero!

**********
PDG—you are so right about in hospital advocacy for your loved ones especially if long term care is involved.  There is a deficiency in staffs in most hospitals especially in specialties because students are just not interested in REAL careers they are groomed by the education systems to “enviornmental” or liberal disciplines.  Unless they have a direct relationship to hospital care because of a relative most students aren’t looking at the medical field.  Outreach to students in High School is imperative but not sure that is happening as widely as it should be.

I am surprised that you could not find an attorney who would take the case against the hospitals negligence—especially since the DR’s licenses were expired.  Where are the ambulance chasers when you need one??

**************
Shahlslam:  WRONG!  but no surprise since your goal is to create a worldwide caliphate that cannot be accomplished in the US with private ownership of guns.  Using Giffords shooting is totally the wrong person to think would agree with you in any way. Giffords IS a gun owner and is a stong pro-ponent of the 2nd Amendment and would NOT agree with you, or anyone else, who wants to limit gun ownership. If guns are outlawed then only the criminals and the government will own guns.

Thanks to everyone for the education!

@ AZ CD8,
Nicely explained! Thanks.
Awareness is the main part of politics. 911 may deal with the few outlawed criminals then. Change will surely take time once started. An example is “Ban on Smoking”.

Shahislam, can I ask how you expect to deal with government corruption by taking away private guns so that they’re only in the hands of the government?

I don’t like guns, personally.  I think they’re too distancing and make the act of killing too impersonal.  I also think they’re too loud and smelly to be convenient and too hard to use well in an emergency.

But, this government is founded on a single principle, that it (the government) should not be trusted.  It’s why we have a thorough system of checks and balances, dividing the government into pieces that need to cooperate and work transparently.  It’s why we vote for people regularly to keep them in office.  It’s why the states and the Federal government are set up as antagonists.  And it’s why the government has a list of laws it may never pass, including (prominently as the second item) restriction of weapons.

It also recognizes (in referring to the right to bear arms, with no distinction as to what kinds) that a criminal can use a gun, sure, but he can also make a bomb in the kitchen, stab someone with a knife, smash a head in with a toaster, hit them with a car, or push someone out a window.  The only difference between any of these and a gun is that only guns and bombs can be used to fight an invading force, whether foreign or even domestic.  So if you’re advocating restriction of guns and not windows or toasters, you might want to double-check your motivation.

I mean, seriously, a car is a ton of steel that can move at a hundred miles an hour and you fill it with the same energy as five sticks of dynamite if you blow it up, give or take, with material (gas) you can get at any street corner with fewer restrictions than buying beer.  And there are lots of cars with very few vehicular homicides.  Is it possible that humans are perhaps NOT inherently destructive people out to murder each other?

The ambulance chasers want a cut-and-dried case where they do not have to do much work. I have contacted lawyers that are listed as “Super Lawyers”, the “Inner Circle of Advocates”, and then those that claim to represent nursing home and hospital cases. Many do not even respond. There is a neat trick the hospitals/nursing homes have…they hire these firms for some little legal advice, then it becomes a conflict of interest for them to represent a case against them.

One that DID respond said I need to go back years to see what health condition was missed that may have caused the brain injury. I can say this much. One day she had out-patient retina repair surgery. I had a normal conversation with her at 3 AM after she completed a class assignment. Six hours later she was unresponsive.

Our system has had this attitude toward brain injury patients for years. We have been asleep at the wheel for 30 years and let this happen. The death panels started originally as “bio ethics” committees.

I talked to a critical care nurse who had a stroke some years back. She was a patient in the same ICU where she had been a charge nurse. She heard them talking about harvesting her organs. She just couldn’t talk. Her daughter refused to let them end her mother’s lfie. Today, the lady is back working as a critical care nurse. She told me that she will NOT let any of her staff talk about ending life or organ donation on her shift near the patient on her shift.

Dear John,
My back pain delayed my response to your post.
I think you have better understanding of my mind than AZ CD8 who mistakenly thought ‘My goal is worldwide caliphate type things’. May be because of the flavour in my name.
Actually, I neither hate nor adore any of the past, present or future (if there will ever be long-lasting any) religions! I dislike Mullah-type old minded, belief blind guys from my childhood.
In the possible near future when the main commercial goods transportation will be replaced by ‘Solar panel covered Gas Baloon-type’ -GPS controlled pilot-less aircrafts, when a good global govt. authority under invincible US leadership would be capable of watching all kind of activities in the wolrd from the satellites, the power of Gun’s will lose its significance. Until now manufacturing of destructive war weapons has been a huge wastage of earthly resources, energies and human mussles’ constructive power. There will be nothing wrong for only Govt. personnel handling all kinds of weapons and let controlled criminal minded guys fight the ramaining criminals on earth.
This is where my intention of promoting peace and get public opinion against production of weapons of all kinds, was being generated.
I would write more about it later on, when my physical condition will hopefully,  improve.
Please, take my optimism easy.
Human imaginations can become reality because God exists.

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