Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Health care nightmare: Iraq contractor Reggie Lane's story told by L.A. Times

Unable to speak and now a widower, Reggie Lane is being called an unappreciated patriot by the LA Times. While working as a contractor in Iraq, Reggie's right arm was blown off and he received shrapnel wounds. He spoke to his wife Linda afterwards, but a doctor called two days later from Germany for permission to operate. Blood flow to Reggie's brain was blocked from a clot. He became unresponsive. After nine months of hospital care, during which Linda stayed in a hotel in downtown Houston, Reggie began to respond to questions and tried to stand up with assistance.

He was sent to a nursing home, but after Linda confronted workers about his care, Reggie went back to a hospital. Linda's own health deteriorated as she fought insurance company AIG for a care facility near home for Reggie, hiring a lawyer. Contractors injured in Iraq have no access to veteran's facilities or resources, but are treated under workmen's compensation laws.

Reggie now only grunted, his ability to speak having declined, which his doctor said is not typical, but added "If someone goes to a nursing facility, if they happen not to get stimuli, it means the brain could not heal as well as it would otherwise." Meanwhile, Reggie remained in foster care homes, spending most of his time sitting and doing nothing.

In July 2009, Linda Lane died. Five years after his injury, Reggie now blinks to signal yes or no.
(Audio slideshow here.)


william Peace said...

Reggie Lane now resides in the disability gulag to borrow Harriet McBryde Johnson's term. This story is as tragic as it is common. Many unfamiliar with disability think the ADA solved all the problems people with a disability encounter. Thus is wrong and a deadly assumption.

Wheelie Catholic said...

I gave some thought to this post after I put it up and regretted not pointing out how common this is. Thanks for adding this in your comment.