Frank and Esther had been our clients over 10 years. They both had multiple medical problems and they utilized LCI to assist in obtaining second opinions, reviewing medical bills, and finding rehabilitation options. They had always been the perfect clients, seeking advice when issues arose and then following the advice. We helped them maintain their independence as they managed two cancer diagnoses, kidney failure, sleep apnea and more.
Frank and his wife Esther loved to travel, and they never let their many medical problems prevent them from living the life they loved. During one of their many cross country trips, Esther developed a case of pneumonia. Frank was at a loss and took her to the local hospital in Arizona, 2,000 miles from home. While in the hospital Esther fell and broke her hip and a simple three day stay turned into an unending nightmare. Frank’s health was extremely fragile and he needed his mini ventilator at night to manage his sleep apnea. He thought he could manage the situation and attempted to do so for a week.
His daughter called us frantically and asked us to call Frank as she filled us in on the issues. The broken hip was quite problematic for Esther and she had appeared to lose her will to live. The hospital suggested a six week rehabilitation stay, in Arizona or hospice.
Meanwhile, Frank was in a hotel not utilizing his mini ventilator, getting more and more fragile as the saga unfolded. He began yelling at the hospital personnel and threatening them at every interaction. The hospital was at a loss and called in their patient advocate team. Esther refused to talk and was actually declining every day. Frank asked us to intervene and review the treatment plan with the doctor and the discharge plan with the hospital. The first thing we did was stabilize Frank and got him a mini ventilator to be used in the hotel. Next we focused on the treatment of Esther. We all concluded that she needed to be home.
This couple was overwhelmed with their travel nightmare. The hospital did not know how to deal with the angry, exhausted, sleep deprived husband who was irrational in his expectations. We all believed the best chance was to get Esther home to rehab near her family and friends. And to get Frank home so he could get rest and support. We consulted with a personal injury attorney to determine if a suit should be filed for the broken hip. The family concluded that their goal was to get Esther home and not pursue fault in this case. This is where the family allowed us to negotiate with the hospital to get this couple home. We insisted that the hospital coordinate and pay for an air ambulance, fully staffed with a physician and nurse, to fly this couple home. They agreed to do this.
Furthermore we asked them to pay for freighting the car back home so the husband could ride in the ambulance with his wife. And finally we asked for the hotel and all co-pays to be waived to which they agreed. The couple was transferred to a hospital in their home town within three days of their call to us. Once she was in her home town she was able to focus on getting better. The wife completed her rehabilitation in a center one mile from their home. Frank was supported by family and friends, used his ventilator, and visited every day. This was over two years ago. Esther was able to come home after her stay and the couple is living independently in their home. Esther is going to water exercise three days a week and is a social butterfly with all of her engagements.
Frank has been calling to tell us that Ester wants to drive again. After running her through hours of testing she was granted her license back. This family needed to be home and together to recover from their ordeal. They are planning more trips this year but before they go they are providing us the itinerary and will call us at the FIRST sign of trouble not after the fact. It is delightful to participate in improving the quality of life for these two people. We welcome the opportunity they provide us to help them face the challenges they encounter in the future.