Please help with overwhelming medical bills for Steve Hanson
While on a job in April 2020, Steve suddenly felt ill, packed up his tools and could not even reach his car before vomiting. He was able to drive himself a short distance before he had to pull over to throw up again. He called his wife and 911 and was transported via ambulance to FMC.
Initial tests came back with a diagnosis of pancreatitis. After almost a week of additional tests, scans and being solely on an IV with no food or drink causing dehydration and additional concern for kidney failure, he was still not given a reason nor a solution for his condition. Adding to his frustration with the situation was the lack of care he was dealing with from a hospital staff in the midst of handling the novelties of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He decided to insist on being discharged. Reluctantly the hospital did so but ignored his requests for a visit from his doctor and discharge/follow up information so he would know how to move forward with his care.
Over the next month he and his wife, Julie, did their best to further understand what might be going on. They scoured the internet, consulted his mother who is an RN, and other medical sources. Steve continued to become weaker due to continued vomiting and diarrhea, now with blood in both, and suffered from bouts of extreme abdominal pain. Many foods no longer agreed with him, and Julie started him on a whole foods juicing diet, which allowed him to retain some foods and gain back some of the weight loss and strength.
When he was strong enough to ride in a car and allowed face to face visits, his primary doctor conducted blood tests which showed his body was fighting an infection. He was referred to an internal medicine doctor who ran a scope down his digestive tract. They found his esophagus to be in bad shape with a herniated portion. He was referred to a specialist who could scope further down the tract and hopefully be able to finally form a treatment plan.
Although weak, he tried to return to work in order to keep money coming in because of the mounting medical bills. His son helped the best he could, becoming his driver, and physical strength for the parts of the job that Steve was still too weak to complete. He was still suffering from horrible abdominal pain which at times delayed the completion of some of his jobs. At one point, he even had to call a friend who owns another HVAC company to complete an installation his son was not qualified to finish. That friend is still graciously awaiting his payment.
By mid-summer Steve was once again home bound, too weak to work, still in pain, not eating, losing more weight, and with the increasing emotional and mental stress on both he and Julie, of the overwhelming medical bills that kept piling up. His mother had moved to Flagstaff to help and Julie was able to find a nurse to visit their home to administer an IV with much needed nutrients to keep what little strength he had. On August 9, there was no other choice than to return to FMC where they immediately put him in the ICU.
He was extremely dehydrated and anemic. They verified the condition with his pancreas and started him on a course of drugs, nutrients, and units of blood in an attempt to stabilize his levels. Thankfully this time around, his care at FMC was at a much higher level. During his weeklong stay in the ICU he underwent many CT scans and several lengthy procedures including surgeries to fix a weakened artery to his spleen, and installing a stint in his esophagus to facilitate drainage and ease of digestion. Another unit of blood was also given before he was discharged after this second hospital stay.
Before too long he was back in the hospital for two days for a scope procedure that was supposed to be out-patient. They were trying to scope down to his gallbladder to find out if this was the underlying issue and found blood counts low so had to give him more units of blood before discharging him for a third time.
Since this third hospital stay, he has been able to receive ongoing medical treatment as outpatient. He has undergone several more scopes and the installation of a new stint in his esophagus since one of the procedures accidentally tore out the original. The condition of his pancreas has not improved and there is discussion of removal. However, the financial ramifications of his ongoing treatment puts further care in jeopardy.
They have applied to AHCCCS through the state in hopes of easing the financial strain but were denied. In the meantime, both the medical bills and the cost of mortgage and everyday living continue to pile up. His son, who was able to help financially early on, broke his hand and could not work for over a month.
Steve and Julie very much appreciate all the prayers and well wishes they have received from friends and family but are in need of financial assistance to help with the almost half a million dollars they have racked up for Steve’s care. The most frustrating is that they still do not have a plan for full recovery and do not know when Steve will be able to return to work. Please find it in your heart to donate even a small amount to help alleviate the financial burdens this has placed on them. More than anything they both want to return to their roles as long-time contributing members of our community. Let’s help them do this.
- Carolyn Toler
- Jill Turner
- Jennifer Babb
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