Burn victim’s father knows need for health care

Published 11:10 am Thursday, November 12, 2009

Three years ago my son and I were in a massive, propane-induced house explosion. I escaped virtually unscathed but my son suffered massive, life-threatening burns.

As the night progressed from “nightmare outside the flaming pile of house” to “seeming eternity waiting for EMS at my neighbor’s home” the “helicopter ride with my son to the hospital in Cincinnati,” I could only think, “God, why couldn’t it have been me?”

No, I wasn’t thinking about whether my insurance would cover the expenses. I wasn’t thinking about deductibles or pre-existing conditions.

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I could only look at the charred body of my son as he cringed in anguish.

Fortunately, for me, the hospital we were headed to was the Shriner’s hospital in Cincinnati. Due to the wonderful charitable work of the Shriners organization there were no charges to me for any of the expenses for healing my son.

When I say healing, I choose that word carefully. My son was healed at the Shriners hospital and I was charged nothing. Zero. Nada.

Why do I bring this up? As I stood in the hospital looking at my son, at the devastated condition he was in, I couldn’t imagine having to ask myself, “can I afford to pay the cost to see him healed?”

Yes, by the way, I did have health insurance. Blue Cross, Blue Shield to be specific.

Many people with insurance like I had, in a potentially debilitating situation like we had, wind up going broke because they don’t have the blessing of a wonderful hospital like the Shriners and their insurance company sells them out when they need it the most.

No human, and no American, should ever be in the situation of having to say, “I can’t afford to pay the cost to have my child healed.”

This applies to everyone from the wealthy, to the poor, to the hard-working tax-paying, insurance-holding middle-class American.

This is why I support the Affordable Health Care for America Act that was passed with a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives on Saturday, Nov. 7.

I’m not a Democrat but I also want to thank our local congressman, Charlie Wilson, for supporting this legislation.

Thank you for working in a bipartisan effort to get this done.

This is also why I think you should consider supporting it too. Thanks and God bless you.

William Rigsby

Coal Grove