Gary's Spinal Cord Injury Fund

As many of you may know, on the night of January 8th, Gary Johnson was in a near fatal car accident on the 91 Freeway near Anaheim caused by a hit and run driver. He was taken by the emergency services to the E.R. at St. Joseph Medical Center in Orange where an x-ray showed he had sustained a broken spine. He was admitted to the hospital in the early hours of January 9th and, after MRI's, CT scans and more x-rays, the images revealed a 70% crushed L1 vertabrae causing a spinal cord compression with a contusion. After a detailed review and consultation with experienced Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Raed Ali, the surgery (a Laminectomy with a 6 Vertabrae Lumbar Fusion) was scheduled for January 10th. Dr. Ali stated that he was surprised Gary was even alive, and that had the incursion into the spinal cord been 2mm further, he would have been left a paraplegic, and 5mm more would have almost certainly meant death.

Gary underwent 5 hours of intensive surgery. He and spent a further 4 days in recovery at St. Joseph Hospital. He was then transferred to St. Jude Medical Center where he underwent 10 days of accute spinal rehabilitation. When he was finally discharged he left  with prescriptions for 14 different medications and still requires 24/7 care due to the following ongoing complications, namely nerve damage, bowel/bladder retention, infections, chronic back pain, and the very real possibility of developing blood clots and pneumonia.

Although Gary is no longer in the hospital, there is still a huge amount of work to do. Currently, he is receiving in-home nurse visits, physical and occupational therapy several times a week from North Star Healthcare. As mentioned above, he also has a dedicated caregiver providing 24/7 supervision. Later, he will progress to outpatient therapy at a specialist facility. Healing of the bones and muscles are estimated to take at least one year, while ultimately, many forms of therapy will be lifelong.

To complicate the situation further, since the cause was a road traffic accident involving other forms of insurance, and was due to another unnamed driver Gary's medical coverage has not yet been approved to meet the cost the emergency transportation ($10,000), the back surgery ($202,000) or the stay at the rehabilitation unit (price as yet unknown). This is of course providing unwanted stress and anxiety.

According to the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Statistical Center the average cost for the first year of injury for Incomplete Motor Function (any level) is $347,484 and $42,206 for each subsequent year thereafter. These estimates do not factor in loss of wages, benefits or productivity. 

Please know that your valued contributions will be going towards:
*Health insurance premiums, deductables, and co-pays.
*Travel expenses and temporary relocation costs for rehabilitation and treatment. 
*Home medical equipment and modifications for accessibility. 
*Home health care services and caregiving. 
*Physical therapy and vocational rehabilitation. 

Thank you so much for considering contributing to this very worthy cause. Please check back here often for regular updates on how your generosity is directly benefiting Gary's progress.
  • Jacqueline Chequer 
    • $100 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $1,850 (Offline)
    • 49 mos
  • John Stemmerman  
    • $20 
    • 49 mos
  • Adrian Frank 
    • $50 
    • 49 mos
  • Joshua Kelley 
    • $50 
    • 49 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Joanna Pearl 
Temecula, CA
Gary Johnson