4324 people signed the petition since November 17, 2009

Give Jessica A Chance

Valley Medical Center
San Jose, CA

November 16, 2009

Valley Medical Hospital
Blue Cross/Anthem Insurance

To whom it may concern,

My name is Jessica Huse and I am 18 years old and asking for your help. I was in a serious car accident on August 2nd, 2009. I was not speeding, I was not drinking and driving, as I am not the type of person to take risks with mine or others lives. I was on my way to church. I was rushed to Valley Medical Hospital and on my way there my heart had stopped and was revived. My parents were told I have suffered a Traumatic Brain injury and a broken pelvis along with a number of injuries to my heart and lungs. Twice my parents and my 13 year old brother were told to say goodbye to me. My heart has healed, my lungs have healed. Thankfully I am still here and alive. Dr. Torres my Neuro Surgeon has told my parents I should wake up within 3 to 6 months from my injury but insurance only gives me 12 weeks due to statistics. My parents were told they used to give patients like me 6 months but things have changed due to Insurance companies. I have been transferred throughout the hospital 6 times due to my condition. The first month or so I wasn’t able to sleep more than about 2 hours at night . I had problems with bleeding from the insertion of my trach which was the beginning of my severe cough attacks. I have had problems tolerating my food and had many days where I was too ill for rehab sessions. I had an ear infection. I incurred a Urinary Track Infection and now am recovering from bacterial infection. It seems that every time I start to feel a bit better something else comes up. . We tried the rehab department because they told us they had a program for patients like me that are progressing slowly and have this severe of an injury, but then later was told I didn’t progress quick enough for the Insurance coverage so we were moved. Later we found out that I had developed fluid on my brain which held my progress back even more than the other things I write about. My Mother is the person who actually had shown concern on each of these issues many times, before it was addressed and confirmed by tests. Had she not been with me so much she may not have recognized my symptoms either.

They now have put shunts in to release this fluid and I am feeling a bit better. They say my ventricles have gotten better. Due to my lack of muscle control I used to bite my lip and tongue cutting into my lip for hours. My feet and hands had started to curl due to the tone from my injury. Thankfully my Doctor gave me Botox and muscle relaxers and splints and although the biting still happens at times my parents are there to fix it and most of these problems are almost gone. (hoping they don’t return when the Botox wears out) but very thankfully for my Rehab team who didn’t give up on me!)

Because of my trach that I need for breathing and/or emergencies I have had severe coughing attacks from all my secretions that can be caused by a trach but because we don‘t think I can swallow well enough I need to keep it in. My speech therapy was cancelled so we can’t fully be sure of my capabilities there or if they would even know. I can’t control my body so when I cough it throws me causing me to bang my head against the rails of my bed unless they are padded with pillows. Thankfully because of my parents concern and the hospitals response they allow one of my parents to stay with me 24 hours a day. We are aware that due to Insurance and staffing etc. I can’t be watched 24 hours a day by nursing staff. My parents have learned to clear my secretions by suctioning, feed me through my feeding tube, clean by my feeding tube and trach area. They change me after each void and bowel movements, turn me every two hours and change my splints as needed. My Mom and my friends take me for my showers 3 times a week. The nurses do come in for about 15 minutes every hour or so though to administer my 10 or more medications. They also help transfer me when needed but at night when my Mom or Dad are sleeping I sometimes have to wait an hour while I sit in my urine or bowel movement. But many times they are awaken by my coughing and no one has noticed.

The biggest problem for me is that sometimes I cough so much that I am left gagging for air. I cough so much that it causes me to throw myself to the sides of the bed, many times vomiting and other times aspirate which I know adds to the risk of Pneumonia . My parents do their best to help me so I can breathe but sometimes they don’t have enough hands to hold my head, suction my mouth and my trach all at the same time. The alarms go off but even though we are lucky enough to have a nurse with only two patients most times they are busy with other patients or busy doing paperwork etc. there is no help available. They say that if my heart rate goes too high that someone will come but many times it rises as high as 160 and no one comes. We were told that 180 was serious. My parents have yelled for help yet still no one can hear them. Thankfully I am ok so far but it’s really hard. It may not be an emergency to the staff but it sure feels horrible to me.

My family worries because we are told we have to move. My parents and friends called 40 different facilities yet only 1 can take me at this time and don‘t allow my parents to sleep by my side.

Evidently there aren’t many places that will take me because of my injury, age and my trach. The only one my parents have found that will take me have 4 to 6 patients per nurse and again, do not allow my parents to be able to sleep by my side. As it is, each parent only receives 4-6 hours of interrupted sleep due to my coughing and then need to go home to take care of my brother. Many say I will be safe without them and being checked in on every 30-60 minutes but many nurses who aren’t afraid to speak agree with us and say if it were their child they wouldn’t want to leave them in my state either. When I have my coughing attacks we can’t schedule those and so far almost all each time the nurses don’t hear me or respond to the alarms. Many times due to my thrashing my monitor probe comes off but they say they assume that I am fine and that those things happen but I fear that some day I wont be, and no one will come.

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning when my oxygen is minimized for sometimes 5- 10 minutes with no relief. I know it may not be life threatening but gasping for air with no help is scary. They can’t be sure I don’t know what is going on. I know it is probably not life threatening but is it because my parents are there? I pray that if my parents are forced to leave my side that I make it through the night without waiting, lying in bed choking and praying that someone comes to my rescue. That I don’t catch pneumonia. Just because my heart may not fail me doesn’t mean I’m not in distress.

I am trying to heal and wake. I show my parents sometimes that I can follow a command. Sometimes many in a day. I know at least once a day I will nod my head and answer their questions but most of the time I just can’t get my brain to tell my body what to do. For a couple of weeks now I reach for things they tell me to many times a day. I now have been able to show this in therapy once in awhile. Its not easy when you only have one or two hours a day to prove myself. I have also been practicing with the passing mier valve and have been tolerating it more and more. The hospital and insurance say its not enough. The doctors and some of the nurses seem to have given up on me and say we must go. I just want time to try. I wonder if I were still a baby if they would be telling my parents to leave me alone knowing I cough like this and vomit sometimes all over myself or through my trach since my functions are of a newborn at this time. Although one facility suggests we tie off my esophagus and put my feeding tube directly to my intestines so this doesn’t happen, it seems a bit severe to us and just one more procedure that comes with its own risks and another invasive procedure I would have to heal from and also later redo when I continue progress. They also say they usually give a medication that relaxes the muscles even if it will make me more tired. And have said if I don’t keep my trach I can not stay.

I know my request is big. My parents are not wealthy people. My Mom and brother live on bunk beds at my Grandmas now. I hear my parents cry and pray everyday for relief. It is so hard for them because not only do they not know if they will ever get me back fully they fear losing me if I am put in a facility where I am left alone and I can’t yell for help. My parents are willing to do whatever it takes. Just give us the chance. We believe that God is hearing our prayers and that I will come back to them but we know that our Medical system probably doesn’t care about that much.

We all know that no one knows for sure my outcome but I ask that you give me a chance. Please can I have my parents by my side to protect me? We know that this is not just a Valley Medical situation. This is how most facilities will run. We are thankful that Valley Med has thus far been supportive in having my Mom and Dad with me when the nurses can not which also helps them to be able to take care of other patients. We are thankful for the Rehab departments efforts to continue most therapy even if decreased and limited to last priority at this point.

Can I stay where I am and continue on the program my parents were told about. (Journey to Recovery) We know my journey is longer than hoped for but I am making it little by little. Or if not, can we go to a place where they haven’t given up on me and will continue to try and help me progress and help me wake with my parents by my side? We are not asking for special treatment of having my own nurse or even changing the nursing ratio of what we have had. If my parents could take me home with help they would, but we know my care is such still that they can’t do it on their own. I just want the chance for my breathing to get better before we move to a place where I am not watched. Who knows …I may surprise you and wake up like two Neuro Surgeons think and all of my family and friends have been praying for. I am still making progress and that can be seen just not on the schedule that has been set for me. In addition, My parents will be happy to transfer me or take me home as soon as I am healthy enough to do so. We just ask for those extra months we think will make the difference.

Thank you for your time,
Jessica Huse

(Signed Lisa Huse a Mother who speaks for her child who can’t speak for herself)

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