Intro: This past December, after 10 years of employment, I voluntarily separated from my place of work to take advantage of the opportunity for change as well as to fulfill a desire to be closer to my family. To that end, I relocated away from the South Florida area, my home for my entire life to that point, and settled in Texas. Prior to this, I secured health coverage through Cobra (via my former employer) as I believed it to be suitable for my needs at the time. I could still receive prescription medications, emergency room and/or urgent care visits under my Cobra plan as long as I paid my premium. Anything outside of that would not be covered since I was out of network and living in a new state. I did not want to be without health coverage as Texas has one of the strictest restrictions in the country on single & childless adults over 26 to acquire health coverage. I never imagined I would be in this position today especially after being insured my entire life with no lapses in coverage.
My Story: A girlfriend from my hometown of Miami and I planned a summer trip together to reunite and spend some very much needed time away.
On August 9th, 2017, we decided to go on a hiking trip to Cascade Mountain in Lake Placid, New York. After a few hours, we reached the top of Cascade Mountain and observed a curtain of rain in the distance. We made our move and started to descend down the mountain.
As we were walking, the rain came over us, making the already slippery and muddy trail more treacherous. With about a mile and a half to go until we reached the pitch, my friend and I were joking on how great it would be if an Uber helicopter came to our rescue. Less than 5 minutes later, on a step down, the side of my muddy shoe slid across a rock and I heard my ankle snap. I fell to the floor and yelled for my friend. I feared my ankle to be (later confirmed) dislocated and fractured (tibia, fibia & tallus) and felt immediate pressure to the affected area. We were kept company by a young man who sat beside me and helped me remain calm until help arrived. After placing a splint on my ankle, Officer Pat of the New York State Forest Rangers helped me hop, at times even carried me, down the mountain until we reached an area where I could be airlifted out of the region. We reached a medical facility near the Adirondacks where I was treated by the most compassionate and caring doctors, nurses and techs. After being discharged and spending the evening in considerable discomfort, my friend and I began our 6 hour trek to New York City where my flight home was scheduled to depart.
Once back in Texas, I was seen by 2 orthopedic surgeons, both of whom indicated surgery was the only recourse. My insurer, Cobra, informed me that even as I have continued to maintain my coverage through July, I would not be covered for the surgery because I am considered ‘out-of-network’. My family and I have exhausted every option at our disposal after consulting with medical professionals and conclude my only option at this point is to pay ‘out of pocket.’ Further complicating the matter is no facility I’ve spoken with will perform the surgery until I am able to pay for the procedure up-front.
If I am not able to do so, I will not be able to have surgery and will be permanently disfigured, according to the doctors. I must have surgery within 21 days of the initial fracture so my deadline to fundraise will be on or before 9/5/2017.
The procedure being performed is detailed below:
An open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) refers to a surgical procedure to fix a severe bone fracture, or break. “Open reduction” means surgery is needed to realign the bone fracture into the normal position.
My family and I have exhausted all of our financial resources to get together as much money as possible to pay for the surgery and desperately need your help. Any donation or contribution you make toward my cause will be one step closer to getting me the help I need. These funds will be used for the cost of surgery, physician visits and ongoing physical therapy. Your generosity and compassion is truly appreciated and I thank you immeasurably for having read this far. May God bless you!
My friend Francesca's footage of being airlifted out of Cascade Mountain.