I want to express my deepest gratitude to Andrew Marxen, the fantastic wound and ostomy nurse who drove several hours round trip to provide care for Curt Gates. Bynthia texted me, “I’ve been up all night caring for Curt but wanted you to know that Andrew’s visit saved us. It’s a miracle.” Bynthia has been really struggling with Curt’s ostomy, as well as the wounds on his feet. When Andrew arrived at the Gates home, Keith Ware was already there fitting Curt with two new heel flotation boots, for which the Gates are so grateful!
I’ve been venting on my blog about the shameful situation that Curt, who is a quad on a ventilator with an ostomy and open wounds on his heels, has no home health care or a personal care attendant – despite being insured with both Blue Cross and Medicare. So far, 10 home health agencies have declined to see him, claiming a variety of reasons including staffing shortages since COVID, his lack of potential for “improvement,” or admitting that he just requires too much care. This has left his wife to care for him without any assistance or supplies for several months since returning home from the hospital.
Neither of these men asked for any thanks or recognition, and I had to extract information about them from their LinkedIn profiles.
Keith is the VP of Sales and Marketing of Rooke Products by Osborn Medical. Andrew has been a wound and ostomy nurse for more than 20 years, and is both CWS and CWON certified. In February he started his own company, “Med City Wound Services,” providing business development, clinical education, commercial sales, and medical writing services for the wound and ostomy industries. He also provides clinical consultations for patients and assists healthcare facilities with formulary development, vendor negotiations, and clinical education. He is currently contracted with “Nancy Morgan Wound Care Group,” supporting her education platforms, “Wound AI USA”, “APWH”, and the “Wound Care Professional” journal. I just met Nancy over the weekend at the Spring SAWC meeting!
Many of you have contacted me with suggestions for home health agencies. Two wonderful volunteers are filling out referral forms and making phone calls, to follow up upon those suggestions in hopes of finding an agency who can help. (Thank you so much, Bernadette and Cristal!) Keep the suggestions coming. It seems to me that it’s time to talk to Congress about the shortage of Home Health services. Additionally, the Gates have been told that all the services he needs would be more available if Curt was on Medicaid. I’d like to know why having both BCBS and Medicare are not sufficient, and why patients have to be on Medicaid (supported by tax dollars) to get help if they are paralyzed. Something is deeply wrong here, and I’d like to know what it is.
Andy and Keith, thank you for being fantastic clinicians and caring people. Both of you drove a long way to help a friend in need. The Gates are grateful and so am I.
Dr. Fife is a world renowned wound care physician dedicated to improving patient outcomes through quality driven care. Please visit my blog at CarolineFifeMD.com and my Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/carolinefifemd/videos
Such shocking story! But in gspite of all insurance negligence, (and Medicare is totally broken) the sacrificial assistance from caring people is proof that there is a God in Heaven!
Sounds like this should be a huge lawsuit.
I am so happy to hear that some relief was provided to this family. I know much more is needed, but it is amazing to hear that people are so willing to help.
I have always said that wound/ulcer/ostomy management clinicians perform “miracles.” Not only were these clinical miracles, but purely random acts of kindness that are much needed in this country. On Saturday at the SAWC, Marcia Nusgart and I encouraged the attendees to take more time to advocate for the needs of our patients and professionals. This is a perfect example of advocacy at its best. Even though the work is not complete, the advocacy has begun with small steps that can turn into giant leaps, and then into huge success.
Thank you for helping this patient and his family. I have personally been in a similar situation to them and know how much “any help” is so welcome. All of you have been a blessing to real people who need your expertise and dedication.
Andy Marxen is a CLASS act all around.