IKOR received a call from a mother about her college-age son. Silvia told us that her son Brian had gone on a spring break vacation to Florida. While on vacation, he rented a motorcycle, and was subsequently involved in an accident resulting in a brain injury.
By the time Silvia called IKOR, Brian had been in a hospital in Florida for six months. During that time husband, Silvia’s husband George had remained in Florida by their son’s side, which seriously impacted their marriage. Silvia told us that her husband had seen steady improvement in their son, but the doctors wanted Brian to be placed in a nursing home because the doctor considered Brian “a vegetable.” She asked if there was any way IKOR could help.
The IKOR Approach
Our goal is this case was to prevent this 20-year-old man from being institutionalized and to get him a thorough, independent medical evaluation, ideally somewhere in Delaware or Pennsylvania closer to his home. In this way, should the evaluation turn out poorly, he would be placed closer to his parents.
To begin, we needed to find a way to prevent Brian’s discharge from the hospital until we could get him a lateral transfer to a hospital near his home. We knew it would be extremely difficult to have insurance cover an admission to another hospital, once he had been considered a discharge. We learned from Silvia that Brian had a tube in place to breathe (a vent), and we knew (based on our experience) that it is very rare that a long-term facility can admit a person on a vent. So we suggested that the parents refuse the procedure, thereby impeding a “safe discharge,” The hospital could not transfer Brian in this condition.
Then we asked for medical records to explore what was possible. We noted that the father and the doctor were both right on paper. The records showed that Brian was progressing in therapy every day. The records showed that the doctor only saw Brian between 1 and 2 a.m. The doctor never read the therapy notes, and forgot that it’s historically difficult to wake a head-injured patient especially after they have worked hard all day.
We identified a head-injury program close to home that agreed to look over the records and discuss the possibilities with us. We forwarded the records and pointed out the failings of the doctor’s evaluation. They agreed to take Brian as a patient. Now we had to get him back home.
IKOR identified a medical air transport company, and together with the family’s church, we coordinated his transport.
Brian was treated in the program for head injury and was discharged fully able to function and return to school.