Maureen & Bill Mathews

This story began on November 29, 2017.   Maureen had finished her day at work and was meeting Bill at one of their favorite restaurants in Chatham, NJ.  Maureen parked her car, walked to the intersection of Main Street and Passaic Avenue, and pushed the button for the light to change so she could cross Main Street.  When the light changed and the "Walk" signal appeared, Maureen began to cross Main Street in the crosswalk.   Suddenly, an SUV traveling south on North Passaic Avenue came fast around the corner, turning left onto Main Street.  Maureen raised her arm in an effort to ward off the oncoming vehicle.  Instead, the car hit her, throwing her up onto its hood.  While the car was still moving, Maureen was thrown to the pavement.  The car then proceeded to run over Maureen with both the left front and left back tires.  It then crashed into two parked cars.  (Eventually, at a later date, the driver pled guilty to a motor vehicle offense.) 

Two women drivers who were waiting at the red light on Main Street facing westbound, witnessed the incident.  They both jumped from their cars to give Maureen aid and comfort.  At that time, Maureen was semi-conscious and asked one of the women to get her husband in the restaurant on the north side of Main Street.  

By the time Bill got to the scene, the Chatham Emergency Squad had already arrived.  Maureen, who was on a gurney and still semi-conscious, mentioned to Bill that her left leg hurt a great deal.  After the EMTs had placed Maureen in the ambulance, they proceeded to the Morristown Medical Center.  Bill, in turn, ran to his car and headed to Morristown.  In addition, Carmen, one of the two women who had come to Maureen's aid, drove to the hospital and stayed with Bill until Maureen's son, Nicholas, arrived from South Jersey.

The team at Morristown Medical Center went to work.  The head of the trauma team at Morristown Medical Center emergency room told Bill, who was in the waiting room with Carmen, that Maureen had life-threatening injuries.  The team fought against time to stabilize Maureen, who was in shock and had a systolic blood pressure of 50.
(In fact, Bill and Nick later learned that Maureen had to be resuscitated several times.)  Once Maureen was stabilized, she was transported to the Intensive Care Unit.

The doctors eventually told Bill and Nick that Maureen had the following injuries:  a large amount of blood loss, a broken pelvic bone, a broken sacrum, a bruised sternum, multiple cracked ribs, a collapsed lung, a ruptured bladder, a broken left clavicle, gashes on the back of her head, a nasty puncture wound on the inside of her left knee, as well as numerous severe cuts and bruises.  The good news:  Maureen's heart and brain were not severely damaged.

While Maureen was in ICU almost the entire month of December, she was in a medically induced coma which allowed her body to begin to heal.  Maureen was placed on a respirator and was administered heavy pain medication and antibiotics.  Also in place were an intravenous feeding tube, a heart monitor, a urine drain, and several other tubes to allow fluid to drain from her pleural cavities.  

While in the ER, Maureen had undergone the first of three surgeries to repair her bladder.  Two days later, an orthopedic surgeon, during a four-hour procedure, repaired her pelvic bone and sacrum.  This surgery included inserting a "fixator" to hold Maureen's pelvic bone together and affixing a metal plate with screws to her sacrum.  Several days later,  a second surgery was performed to adjust the hardware that was holding Maureen's pelvic bone together and to remove shards of bone from in and around her bladder which had broken off from the pelvic ring.

A few days before Christmas, Maureen was slowly brought out of the coma.  In order for this to work, the heavy medications were gradually reduced and a tracheotomy was performed so that she could be slowly weaned from the respirator.  

In early January, Maureen endured a sixth operation, this one to remove an abscess from her pelvic region.  In late January 2018, Maureen was discharged from the hospital and transported to Morris Hills Rehabilitation Center, also in Morristown.  At this point, Maureen could not walk.  

After a rest and recuperation period at Morris Hills, Maureen underwent physical therapy five days a week.  The objective was - and is - to strengthen Maureen's core muscles and upper leg muscles to prepare her body in the event that the nerve damage in her lower extremities might improve to the point where she could stand on her own.  

On March 15, 2018, Maureen underwent an EMG (electromyogram).  Alas, the conclusion of the doctor who administered the test was that Maureen, at best, would need a cane or walker for the rest of her life and, at worst, a wheelchair.  Nonetheless, continued physical therapy was deemed crucial in her effort to maximize her recovery.

In late April, Bill and Maureen were alerted to the fact that CIGNA's in-patient therapy coverage was coming to an end.  Maureen's insurance policy stipulates that in-patient therapy is limited to 100 days per calendar year.  Because it was much too soon for Maureen to leave Morris Hills rehab, Bill paid nearly $5,000 out of his pocket to keep Maureen in the facility for two additional weeks.

Added to the Morris Hills expense, Maureen and Bill have been faced with out-of-pocket insurance costs, including deductions, co-pays, and out-of-network expenses.  The fact that Bill was down-sized from his job last year (prior to Maureen's accident) only exacerbated their financial situation to the point of near bankruptcy.  (Bill had been working part time in an hourly job just to keep some money coming in; however, he had to quit that position in mid-May of 2018 to stay home and take care of Maureen.)

Bill and Maureen's automobile insurance limit (personal injury protection) was exhausted in December 2017.  Maureen's medical coverage (CIGNA) through her employer (Prudential) kicked in immediately thereafter.  Unfortunately, CIGNA placed a lien against the policy of the woman who hit Maureen, so it is doubtful that Bill and Maureen will see any of that money.

Of course, a law suit was instituted, but one-third of any settlement will go to their attorney; plus, there is a good chance that the woman who hit Maureen won't have enough assets to bridge the financial gap that Maureen and Bill are experiencing.

Maureen and Bill's lives were turned upside down in an instant as a result of this accident.  Maureen continues with physical therapy and is making progress.  But the future is uncertain.  Can they stay in their home?  

Your help is most appreciated.   Maureen and Bill would be very grateful for anything you might be able to give.  Won't you consider making a donation on their behalf?
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Organizer and beneficiary

Susan Storey 
Organizer
Lewes, DE
Maureen Mathews 
Beneficiary
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