Dear SOLACE members,

 A Boston attorney, who generously offered his office in Boston for one of our Louisiana SOLACE members in need, now desperately needs our help. His son Ryan , a graduate student at Tulane University's School of Business, sustained a severe and devastating brain injury, in April 2011 when he fell off his bicycle as he tried to avoid being struck by a taxi. Fortunately a caring bystander called 911, and Ryan was rushed by ambulance to the ICU at LSU Interim Hospital in New Orleans, not far from where from 2005-2010 he had supervised volunteers in successfully rehabbing shotgun houses covered in mold and fractured by the winds of Katrina.

Ryan underwent dangerous, life-saving brain surgery a few weeks after the accident.  This involved removal of the upper two halves of his skull (a so-called" bilateral craniectomy") to allow Ryan's traumatized brain to swell uncontrollably due to the brain's inflammatory response to the striking of his head on the street surface (his brain apparently was subjected to shearing forces as it ricocheted against the hard inner surface of his skull, causing ultimately the breaking of axons that connected the neurons in his brain to the different parts of his body).

Even after that operation Ryan lay in the ICU for several weeks in a medication-induced coma. When he was taken out of his coma, his  Diffuse Axonal Injury  had resulted in a severe cognitive deficit resulting in both physical and cognitive issues: Ryan could not sit up on his own, walk, or use his right arm (unfortunately he was right-handed, which has made Ryan's rehabilitation process take longer. He had lost his short term memory, some of his long term memory, his reading ability seemed limited to a few words printed large, and he could speak only a few words that were understandable and occasionally a short sentence before his speech lapsed into what sounded like gibberish.

Our Boston colleague and his wife  have come down to New Orleans to live near Ryan. Ryan was finally able to start therapy in January, and was slowly making progress - the family was ecstatic. Three weeks after the physical therapy began,  Ryan's physical therapy sessions were terminated because, according to Medicaid, he was not making "sufficient progress." Since August, Ryan has had no physical therapy, he remains bed-ridden or in a wheelchair,  with no physical therapy and therefore no prospect of retraining his brain to make his otherwise healthy and unatrophied body sit up on its own and eventually walk.

 

SOLACE REQUEST: Can anyone assist the family navigate the Medicaid system? If you can assist the family, please directly contact Ryan's father, Frank, at :  porcelli@fr.com