On December 4th, 2009, 25-year old Adam Reinert woke up to start what he thought would be a regular, ordinary day. Little did he know, the day's events would drastically change his entire life.
While on the job for the Department of Public Works of a local NJ Borough, a few hours into his day, Adam was crushed by a PSE&G (Public Service - Electric & Gas) utility pole. (Typically, these types of poles range in weight from 200-700 lbs.) He lost consciousness and was rushed to a nearby hospital by emergency medical technicians.
After thorough examination, countless x-rays and MRIs, and being hospitalized for 6 agonizing days, Adam was placed in a neck brace for the next 5 months, unable to drive or return to work. He was prescribed painkillers, physical therapy and close follow-ups with his primary care doctor, along with two neurosurgeon specialists.
The overall findings and results weren’t surprising: Adam suffered trauma to the cervical spine. This strained the vertebrae, also caused cervical discs between the vertebrae to bulge out, putting tremendous pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.
With no improvement from conservative treatment and no other options, on April 10th, 2010, Adam’s condition deemed him as a surgical candidate and he was scheduled for one-level cervical spine fusion surgery to stop the motion of the affected cervical vertebral segment.
Generally, a one-level fusion is done, and in rare circumstances, a two-level fusion would be considered. In Adam’s case, last minute and without in-detail discussion and re-evaluation, on the day of the surgery, his doctors changed the procedure to a three-level fusion. This a much riskier, more complicated and complex surgery and because of the fact that it was changed so last minute, Adam did not want to make an impulse decision and ended up refusing the surgery.
More than two years have passed and there has been minimal improvement. A recent MRI now shows cervical degenerative disc disease. Adam has continuous neck pains and stiffness, along with numbness and weakness radiating down his right shoulder and arm. In the beginning of 2012, he fell twice due to extreme weakness in his legs and was hospitalized for almost a week.
It is surreal to think what Adam’s life consisted of before this accident. Eager to help anyone in need, with a huge sense of urgency in emergencies, he volunteered as a firefighter in his town. He coached little league ice hockey. Snowboarding in the winter was a huge hobby he had taken up, and being active in the gym was an enjoyable activity. But perhaps the most heartbreaking aspect to Adam, as a loving, devoted father, is having a hard time keeping up with his energetic six-year old son. Needless to mention, Adam has battled depression and anxiety over his current state—feeling physically, mentally, and financially limited.
Unfortunately, time is not on Adam’s side. His case has shamelessly been swept under the rug and he is getting the run-around from the underlying bureaucracies that have ruled this unfortunate situation. We urge Governor Christie to demand the insurance company, Bergen Risk Managers, to allow approval for his cervical spine surgery—whatever-level the doctors deem it appropriate at this time.
The saddest part is this could happen to anyone, at any point in time. No one deserves to have his or her life endangered and drastically changed in such a harsh way.
Please, help us raise awareness against money-hungry, unreliable insurance companies that have no right or reason to deny medical treatment to a state employee who suffered life-threatening, on-the-job injuries.
The reason for support is extremely simple: everyone faces life-challenging situations. When one becomes a mere victim of circumstance, like Adam, unable to take matters into his or her own hands to better the situation due to aspects that are far beyond his or her control--THAT IS WHEN there is a vital need for humanitarian support. When there is no real OUT, there is always another who can personally relate to a particular struggle, in one way or another.
My kindest, warmest thanks.