Please pass this story along to anyone who can help.
On June 1st, a day after his 48th birthday, my dad Jeff Brown was volunteering at a first aid booth at the annual Summer Arts Fair in Humboldt County. The fair is located in the heart of the redwoods. At only 8 minutes into his volunteer shift, several loud cracks were heard and people started shouting and pointing towards the first aid booth. It was the sound of large branches falling from a giant redwood tree. My mom, Vera, ran out to get my sister, Rebecca, to safety. My dad managed three steps but did not get out in time. As the branches fell they knocked other branches off on the way down, and buried my father beneath them...
The branches first hit his head, then back, and finally settled onto his legs and ankle. It compressed his neck, split a tooth, dislocated his right ankle, and shattered both his right leg and ankle. He was quickly pulled out from under the debris thanks to those nearby (see photo), and was rushed to the hospital via ambulance. He was stabilized for 17 hours while waiting for an ortho specialist from Chico to perform surgery. To relieve some of the pain, his ankle was relocated prior to his 5 hour surgery. He had a metal plate and 13 screws installed into his ankle.
The Surgeon said it was like fitting a jigsaw puzzle back together.
He has not been able to walk since June. He is wheelchair bound, uses crutches on occasion, and has to use a modified shower seat. We also had a wheelchair ramp installed so that he would be able to get in and out of the house easier. Due to the fact that he is still recovering and has not been able to work since the accident, he no longer is covered by medical insurance from his former employer. He has to pay $335.00 per month, out of pocket, for Cobra insurance which covers parts of the surgery/medical bills after a $5,000 deductible fee.
He had a second surgery where they removed a 3 ½ inch anchor screw out of his leg. He needs a root canal surgery for his split tooth. He will be seeing a neurologist for his neck compression, which causes him frequent headaches. It will be a long road to recovery, and he is not expected to fully recover. The doctors expect him to have severe arthritis and permanently limited mobility due to his injuries. He can't drive, as it was his right leg that had been crushed, and therefore has been house bound for the most part.
The ambulance ride was $2,000.00.
The cost of the emergency room was $1,200.00.
The first surgery was $83,000.00.
The first surgery anesthesia was $1,400.00.
We don't yet have the itemized bill for the second surgery, the physical therapy, the root canal surgery, the prescriptions... and the gas for driving to and from appointments which are over an hour commute away.
He feels lucky that he didn't lose his life that day and has been optimistic throughout the whole process.
While it is my dad who has endured the physical pain, my whole family has been feeling the aftermath. My mom is supporting the family by herself now and does not make enough to pay for these heavy hospital bills, household bills, gas, food and various other expenses. And as my dad cannot drive, my mom takes him to his physical therapy the one day during the week that she has off. He is expected to go to physical therapy more than once a week but the combination of a long commute, his inability to drive and my mom working full time has inhibited him from doing so.
We have had the privilege of living in a caring community who were quick to respond in pulling the massive branches off of my dad. However, we are now being crushed by the weight of the bills.
My parents find it hard to ask for help. They have always been there for me and now I am going to do my best to help them. I would appreciate anything that you are able to donate to help my dad, and my family, recover from this accident.
Please repost this and help my family out.
With utmost appreciation,
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