Anthony's Rehabilitation Fund
My little brother, Anthony Bing, was in a terrible snowmobile accident on January 3, 2016, while we were sledding together in the back country. Sledding is his passion. It was nearing the end of an amazing day of sledding together with Mindy, his wife, myself, my 4 year old son, and our mother and father when this horrific nightmare happened. We had all been playing on the hills all day long, Anthony decided to go up one last time. The hill got a little steep and Anthony's sled came right over backwards, spun 180 degrees and the track of the snowmobile landed on his leg while the throttle was stuck wide open. The scratcher (a metal bar that digs in the snow) went through his boot and through his achilles tendon which stopped him from being able to pull his leg out. Meanwhile the back end of the track ripped through his clothing removed all the skin and tissue and into the muscle and tendons on the back side of his entire right leg. While the track was spinning at 70 mph it was cauterizing as it ate through his leg. He put his hand into the track to free his leg and shattered his hand. I was quickly at his side and able to get him down onto flat ground where I removed my clothes to make tourniquets to stop the bleeding. We called an ambulance and my amazingly tough in shock brother road out to the parking lot where the ambulance rushed him off to the Whistler Clinic. The clinic did triage on him and determined they could not do anything for him and then rushed him down to Vancouver General Hospital to the burn unit. He has suffered massive nerve damage to his leg and has next to zero feeling in his right leg. The pain killers and nerve pain killers are so strong that he is not able to focus on anything let alone type and ask for help. Watching him convulse in pain to the point of passing out for weeks on end is the worst thing that I have ever experienced and I pray that this kind of accident never happens to anybody ever again.
Since being in the hospital he has had 5 skin grafts for his ankle and his hamstring area on top of having a broken hand and massive internal nerve damage that can’t be seen.
After the first skin graft the actual graft on his ankle was somehow removed during a bandage change and was never noticed until he was admitted at Lionsgate 10 days after his initial surgery.
The transfer to Lionsgate was another fiasco in this nightmare. The doctors at VGH determined that Anthony was ready to go “home” about 5 days post surgery. Well, home to Fort St John wasn’t an option because of the lack of doctors and proper medical care for the injuries he had. So the hospital decided that he should go to Prince George. After Mindy and his mom did more extensive research into the medical care available in Prince George they learned that they too didn’t have the proper medical care for Anthony’s injuries. When they tried to talk to the VGH staff they were given the run around and basically told the hospital policy was to send him to the nearest hospital to his home town and that’s what they were doing. Well, in order to beat the system they changed Anthony’s legal address to his parents home in North Vancouver. VGH was then forced to either keep him there or transfer him to Lionsgate Hospital in North Vancouver. By keeping Anthony in the Vancouver area it allows for more family support and a two hour flight for his wife instead of a six hour drive to be able to visit when she can.
Because there are no doctors in Fort St. John even when Anthony is allowed out of the hospital he will have to stay in the Vancouver area for more appointments with specialists and follow ups with surgeons. In order for him to attend each appointment he has to travel by ambulance which is not covered by BC medical.
When the surgeon at Lionsgate did an initial assessment of Anthony’s injuries he noticed that there was nothing in the file about the damage to Anthony’s ankle area. They especially failed to mention that the skin graft hadn’t taken and that the actual skin around the achilles tendon was receding and festering thus making the wound much more significant and requiring immediate treatment in order for the best change of recovering movement and sensation in the area.
After determining all of this, the surgeon then told us, the family, that there was nothing he could do because the two hospitals were fighting over the administrative side of who should be responsible for the costs to correct and continue to treat Anthony’s injuries. Another week went by of Anthony continuing to lay in a hospital bed in excruciating pain and feel as though his leg is rotting away a little more every day.
It is now March 5, 2016 and he is still in the hospital for a minimum of one more month pending the last skin graft takes.
Over the last 64 days we have learned also that his medical insurance doesn't cover his medications. When he was first admitted to the hospital the medications he was given turned into a massive allergic reaction which resulted in new meds that we later learned he is also allergic too. In the end the only meds that he can take without breaking into a rash from head to toe are not covered by BC Medical. The cost of these are over $1000 a week.
That doesn’t include any of the future surgeries that he will have to have to fix the nerve damage along with countless nerve testing, years of physio and rehab and the medication for them as well. The doctors are saying that once he is out of the hospital he will have physio for a minimum of a year 4 to 5 times a week. With only 12 visits a year covered by medical, the bills will be huge.
If the accident was not bad enough, Anthony and his wife’s financial situation is really struggling. Anthony runs a company in Fort St. John and since this was not a work related injury he is not being paid anymore. He qualifies for short term disability which is less than a grand every 2 weeks which doesn’t even cover the cost of his medication. His hospital room costs $200 a day as he requires a private room because his customized walker does not fit in the bathroom of a shared room but his injury for some reason does not qualify for a paid private room. This is something that shouldn’t even be an issue, because it is a requirement of his injuries. We have always been told that the hospital stay is covered by BC Medical. After receiving a bill for over $4,000 just for his stay at Lionsgate Hospital, Anthony and his wife found out the hard way, that isn’t true.
On top of that, he has bills and a mortgage like everybody else. Mindy has to be in Fort St John with their dogs and her job and can’t afford to come down and see her husband anymore than she already has.
Due to the change in the economy in the oil and gas industry there is no guarantee there will be a company to return to once he is able. If he wasn’t beaten up enough physically, just imagine the mental deterioration and depression of not being able to provide for his family.
My brother is one of my biggest inspirations in life. I have always looked up to him even though he is my little brother. He is a huge teddy bear underneath everything and has bent over backwards to help me over the years and would do the same for anyone in need and this is one of the reasons I find myself trying to help him, not because he is my brother but because he would do whatever he could for me or anyone else.
If you can help in anyway even a little I know it would be appreciated and never forgotten. If you can’t help financially but are able to reach out in another way god bless you. Thanks for taking the time to hear his story.
I have attached a few pictures below if you would like to see the damage but if you are queezy please do not scroll farther and the video is at the very bottom
Back of leg and calf. Over a 1.5" in depth of difference between normal and now. There is a graft already there.
Failing graft- those are very painful blisters
top of leg is where graft came from wound on back of thigh and calf
very badly bruised ankle
back of ankle where steel scratcher went through. open wound - yellow is tendons
Do not watch video if you get queezy
I just got back to the apartment in Vancouver after visiting Anthony in St. Paul's Hospital. He had another major surgery on his right foot/ankle on Tuesday afternoon. When I spoke with Dr. Younger, the surgeon, after the surgery he was very happy with how everything went. He said they did the heal relocation and the removal of bone on the outside of his foot to get it straight, during that process they had to go back in on the inside of his ankle and re-release tendons in order to get his foot straight. Even with all of this the surgeon is happy with the result. They did install an external fixator to the outside of his foot instead of a cast. This screws into the bones and holds his foot in the correct position as it heals. It also allows the surgeon to tighten the different parts to keep it straight as it heals.
Anthony has been in a massive amount of pain since the surgery and continues to have severe nerve attacks and shooting nerve pain. He explained it to me tonight as a burning, shooting fire, electric shock pain. It seems to come and go in waves and when the strongest waves hit it is the most horrible thing to watch and I feel so helpless. The nurses at St Paul's have been fantastic and are working with a team of pain specialists to help get these to a minimum.
Anthony has been kept in a post surgery recovery area until they can get his pain under control and have a room open up for him on the surgery floor. Because of his special circumstances and allergies they are trying to find him a private room. We are very thankful for this and know it will help his mental state during this healing process.
I would like to thank Dr Younger and his amazing team for all they have done for Anthony. I have included a picture of the note Anthony left for Dr Younger and his reply. Also, a huge thank you to all of the nursing staff for everything they do and what they have done specifically to help Anthony receive the best care available in our medical system.
A huge thank you to all of our wonderful friends and family for your love and support during this hard time. There is no end in site but I still believe this a temporary setback for Anthony and one day, maybe this year maybe five years from now, he will be back on his feet and doing the things he loves.
I'll write another update once I know more. A reminder we are selling lots of our belongings so if there is something that you know of that you are interested in please message me and we can work something out.
Today marks one year since my accident. It has been a very trying year with many challenges still to come.
I was very fortunate to be able to fly home to Fort St John to be able to spend Christmas and New Year’s with my wife and dogs. It has been great to be able to see friends who aren’t able to visit me in Vancouver. There have been many challenges with being in the cold snowy north as well.
The flight was excruciatingly painful and the swelling caused by the flight was unbearable. The swelling won’t go down and because I haven’t been able to do any physio here it keeps getting stiffer and hurts more all the time. We tried to get me in to do physio at several different places here in town but none of them would do anything being so close to the holidays. The only place that would even have a consultation with me was MC Rehab, they offered working with a kinesiologist, massage therapist and using their hyperbaric chamber as well as a new laser treatment that is supposed to help breakdown scar tissue. But again their schedule wouldn’t allow me to start treatments until after the holidays. MC Rehab has a great reputation around Fort St John and I am excited to do some treatments with them once I return home after my next surgery.
The first thing I noticed after I got here was walking in the snow, even in a parking lot, is very different that a sidewalk in Vancouver. The ice is incredibly challenging to walk on with good shoes but the runners I have for doing physio in Vancouver give no traction or support for uneven terrain. The worst thing is frozen stairs. Icy stairs are super scary but then a lot of places put gravel on the ice. The gravel is usually round so it just makes you slide over top of the ice. There have been many times when I thought I was going to crash, grabbing for anything to help me stay upright which then hurts my wrist and I’m always worried I’m going to break something else.
Finding snow boots that I could get my brace into and still give some support to my ankle was almost impossible. I tried on over fifty different styles in Vancouver, Fort St John and Grande Prairie and finally found one style that would work. Unfortunately, they were at a store in Grande Prairie, AB and didn’t have the size I needed. After calling every store between Fort St John and Calgary and Vancouver we found one pair in the correct size in a store in Edmonton. Getting them to Fort St John was difficult with the holidays and high volumes of freight that everyone was trying to get to the right place before Christmas. They finally made it and I’m using them but even they aren’t as much support as I really need.
It has been great being able to visit our friends here but with that comes a new set of challenges. Only a few of our friends anticipated my arrival, Saari moved plants out of the way so I could use a handrail, Michelle added steps to an oversized stair in their garage and Gary swept their driveway and stairs for me. In Canada the tradition is to take your shoes off at the door, well most people don’t need a chair let alone one with arm rails to be able to do that so most entryways aren’t set up to make things easy for me. That’s just getting my shoes off, when it’s time to put them back on I need another chair and usually a shoe horn. It’s not easy to pack these things around with me but I might have to start doing it. Once I’m in the house it’s ok as long as there is carpet. Tile, hardwood, etc. makes it hard to balance. My crutches don’t like to grip on the slippery floors which makes me lose my balance and feel like I’m going to crash at any moment. I’ve definitely had some tumbles during this process.
One thing I noticed more after I got home was how much my old wardrobe didn’t fit anymore. The joys of being in a hospital bed for almost a year on so many drugs that make you gain weight and retain water, none of my clothes fit anymore. The cost of new clothing is crazy!! Trying to find pants that are decent quality and under $150 is almost impossible. Not to mention shirts, jackets, etc. It’s also very embarrassing have to go up two or three sizes just because of the medications.
Shopping for a Christmas gift for my wife was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Because I have a hard time with staying focused because of the sled hitting me in the head and the medications it was really hard to come up with ideas. I would get a great idea and then go to do it and forget what I was doing. Not just a little forget but not remember for days if at all.
I have had other really embarrassing things happen to me with my memory issues. I ran into a guy in the store one day and we talked for a while and then I said goodbye to him. Later I came home and asked Mindy who he was. In talking to her I was able to remember that he worked for me for almost a year and after more talking I remembered that he was also the nephew of the Chief Safety Officer for the company. But after all of that I had to ask someone else what his name was, I still couldn’t figure it out. I know I called him by the wrong name when I saw him in the store and I felt terrible for it.
It’s things like this and my not being able to read more than a sentence or two at a time before I feel nauseous that I am really struggling with. It is not who I am, I never had memory problems before, I could remember anything you told me, to a photographic memory level. It is really hard.
Anthony Update – Jan 3, 2017
I have had many people ask me why I didn’t just cut my foot off, well there are many reasons. The main reason is because I feel that God gave me the foot and intended for me to use it and he gave me the will to fight to keep what is mine. He has helped give me strength to be able to stand up to the battle that I am now part of. In the beginning I thought that as long as it had good blood flow that I would continue to work to try to fix it and that the doctors would help me to do this. No one told me that it wasn’t possible until I went to a meeting with all of my doctors to discuss my future and rehab plan towards the end of last February, at that point not one thought it was still worth keeping.
When I was first at VGH I begged to have it removed because of the massive amounts of pain that I was having. The doctors at that point refused to even acknowledge that there was anything wrong with my foot other than a sprain.
The same doctors that said to cut it off also couldn’t guarantee that it would take any of the pain away. They feel the nerve pain stemmed from higher up the leg and they almost guaranteed there would be phantom limb pain forever even if the leg was removed.
The donations we received have been amazing and at first we thought these would last a long time. We have realized that they are just the beginning. The almost $60,000 that was donated is gone. With all of the extra costs of the apartment, medications, private physio, massage therapy, chiropractor, new wardrobe, etc. it has gone in a hurry. We have been selling and will continue to sell some of our assets so if you or anyone you know might be interested please contact me or Mindy for the information.
We are still almost a year later getting statements about an invoice that we were told had been taken care of last April. Calls from different hospitals about charges that we didn’t even know about and aren’t covered by BC Medical or extended medical. It is annoying to have to still be dealing with things after we thought they were taken care of but the amount of time it takes to continue to follow up with them to make sure they are actually dealt with every month is draining, not to mention the additional worry to have to cover these unanticipated costs. It’s one thing to know about the cost and be able to plan for it but when we don’t even know about them it is really hard to budget for them.
If you know of any ways of fundraising or any other ideas that could work please let us know. We will try anything but will need your help in organizing it.
We have tried getting additional help from the government or even different grants and funding that way but because we own our home, at this point, and because I am considered self-employed we don’t qualify for any extra help from the government or any of several other programs.
Before I came home for the holidays I was able to go to the Oceanside Hyperbaric Chamber in Parksville. I would like to thank Terry and the rest of the team so much for their donated treatments, they are amazing!! With the help of the chamber I felt an increase in flexibility and mobility and have noticed that the open wounds that I’ve been struggling with for the last year have mostly healed. I also noticed that some of the swelling that I have been struggling with had decreased, until I flew home for the holidays. Overall I felt better after every session but I know for the best results I will need a minimum of 40 treatments. That doesn’t take into account the upcoming surgeries that I will have on my hand and foot. I will be going back to do some more treatments and can’t wait!
I would also like to thank Rob and Saari in Nanaimo for opening their home to me. They gave me a room to stay in while I was on the Island for the treatments. It was great to be welcomed to their home and treated like old friends or family. I was even able to attend one of their snowmobile club meetings and talk to them about my accident and how to prevent something like this from happening to any of them.
The upcoming surgery for my foot is a major surgery and will require three months of not being able to put any weight on my foot which means being in a wheelchair and then six months of rehab afterwards. Because my foot is still curved and I am walking on the outside edge of my foot they are going to go into the outside edge just past the pinky toe and remove a piece of bone to try and straighten it out. After that they will release tendons on the outside of my foot and ankle which means to remove scar tissue which will allow the tendons to move freely and then they will lengthen the released tendons by putting cuts into the tendon vertically and horizontally and overstretch the tendon and then put stitches into the tendon to keep it in the over stretched position which thereby lengthens it. Once that is done they will look at the alignment of the foot and will remove my heel bone completely, cut it in half diagonally, screw it back together, then reinstall my heel and screw it into place in a better location for walking on and reconnect the adjoining tissues to the bone. The goal is that my foot will be straight and my heel will be under me, instead of off to the inside, which will give better support for walking. Because I will only be allowed to stay in the hospital for five days after surgery we will be responsible for all of the medical costs of recovery and rehab after the surgery. That means all medications, in home nursing care, transportation to and from appointments by ambulance, and all physio and rehab costs as well.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
Good riddance to 2016!!
Anthony has now just finished his Intensive Patient Program at GF Strong. He is walking with 'poles', and lately with special crutches as his ankle is taking a beating from the hard work of walking on it. The poles are great as they help with balance, support and keep the body upright. I haven't seen him walking with the crutches, but that definitely is a major step backward. I am really proud of him, and the hard work he puts in. He is exhausted at the end of each long day of therapy.
He sees his Ankle Surgeon on Thursday of this week to determine when his next major reconstruction surgery will take place. At the last appointment - a few weeks ago, he was told that it would be as soon as there was a surgery spot open . We are really surprised he doesn't have a date yet. We are all hoping that he may be able to go home for Christmas...if only for a few days. As of Dec. 15th, he has been gone from home one year and has spent since Jan 2nd in hospitals.
He needs to continue with daily Physiotherapy while he waits for surgery. His Dr's have told him that this is his 'job' right now.
Some of the major issues of Anthony going home are: Access to in-hospital Physiotherapy, Access to pain management drugs, including Methadone. The Doctors at GF Strong were supposed to arrange with Ft. St. John hospital for Anthony to have Out-Patient physiotherapy, but for whatever reason this was not done. We are hoping that by some miracle this can still happen. Anthony's wife Mindy was told that GF Strong will send him home as an in-patient, and then Ft St John Hospital will take him as an in-patient there, and therefore get continued physiotherapy at no personal cost. As well, they were to make sure that he had a Family Dr. as well as a Dr. who could provide methadone...and other medications needed. That didn't happen!
Cost is a huge factor in all this as you can imagine! Private clinics cost about $100.00/one hour visit and he needs to go every day to maintain the correction his foot and ankle have now...multiple hours. You can imagine the costs.
Perhaps someone who sees this can volunteer their Physiotherapy time or services. We are hopeful!
He also needs a good stationary bicycle if anyone in Fort St. John area has one that they can loan him.
On a positive note 8 or 9 months ago Terry Carpenter, the Director of Oceanside Hyperbaric in Parksville, on Vancouver Island, offered 10 free treatments to Anthony to help with his healing. We are so grateful for this offer and Anthony is there right now having some of those treatments. He is working with Don Vergara RN BSN & Hyperbaric Technician along with Pawel Szopa BSc (KIN) , Certified Hyperbaric Technologist. They have offered further treatments post his next surgery. Anthony says everyone is so KIND! For me as a Mom, it just shows how significant this Kindness is, and how obviously it has been lacking in others. Here is their website: http://www.oceansidehyperbaric.ca/staff.html
I have spoken with Anthony and he says the treatments are absolutely amazing, and he feels revitalized during and after the treatments.
We understand that there is a Hyperbaric Chamber in Fort St. John, and I am hoping that they will offer the same as Oceanside Hyperbaric when Anthony goes home. I will ask.
At the same time as Terry offered these services, Rob Hanna and his wife Saari Hamilton, who live about half an hour from Oceanside Hyperbaric, in Nanaimo, offered their home to Anthony to stay in while he has these treatments. They manage http://www.bcsnowmobile.ca/ Their vision statement is to 'eliminate motorized winter sports accidents and avalanche related injuries and deaths. They provide training and education in motorized back country safety instruction. This includes machines like ATV's, snowmobiles, snow bikes and others..Anthony says what makes them different, is that they include how a person gets into these areas, and what tools do they have to help themselves should they get in trouble. We are very grateful to them! They have a great website and it's full of information. Check it out!
Also, BC Ferries people were wonderful! I asked Anthony - who went alone to the Island - how he managed to get his food to the table, and he said "A BC Ferries worker, came up to him and asked if he needed help. and then carried his tray for him. For these small kindnesses we are very grateful!
To the people also who have generously given Anthony Air Travel points on West Jet & Air Canada, we thank you! It is so helpful.
Thank you everyone for your support, whether it's financial or prayers, or services. It's very meaningful to us.
We will know more about the next surgery after Thursday, and will keep you in the loop. Please share Anthony's story!
Your story of failed care has motivated me to make contact with you. I operate a hyperbaric oxygen clinic in parksville on Vancouver island. If you want to get the best results from your skin grafts, you need to do hyperbaric oxygen treatment pre and post grafting. I am sure you weren't told about this therapy, even though it is available at vgh, and is an approved indication for hyperbaric oxygen and should be covered by msp. I am willing to help with some hyperbaric treatments if you come to Vancouver island. We will gift you 10 sessions of hyperbaric for free This treatment is the only way to get the best results from failed skin grafts. Educate your Doctors!! Your plastics doctor should know about it and approve it!! Cash Value of this treatment offer is $1050.00!! My company is Oceanside hyperbaric and my contact info is on the internet web site. 250-954-0335
I Know of an extended health plan that may cover some extra costs if you don't have any coverage now. It has not medical requirement, no does it exclude pre-existing conditions.
Please continue to update us as often as possible. I was just wondering the other day how everything was going!! Thank you from Montana...