TULSA, Okla. — Update 02/28/2020:
Anthony West woke up from his coma after his December crash.
West’s family says specialists were able to gradually wake him up enough for physical therapy.
Anthony West’s insurance, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has approved coverage for Craig Hospital, in Denver. That’s where his family was fighting for him to go after Anthem initially declined coverage because it was out of network. Anthony was transported this afternoon and will begin coma stimulation treatment immediately. The money family, friends, and the community has donated can now be used for the medical bills and expenses associated with this, which they believe will still be astronomical.
Anthem gave us a statement on the situation:
“At Anthem, we work to ensure our members have access to the care and services that will best treat their individual medical needs. In reviewing Mr. West’s current situation, our medical staff determined Craig Hospital is uniquely qualified and is the appropriate setting to provide the medical care and services he currently requires. We will continue to support him and his family to ensure he receives the coordinated care that will meet his needs.”
Since then we’ve learned that representatives from Craig Hospital in Denver have visited Anthony in the facility he’s in here, evaluated him, and accepted him into their eight-week coma stimulation program. Now the West family has appealed Anthem’s decision and is trying to get them to pay for Anthony to be treated at Craig, since they’ve determined he’s a perfect candidate for their program. They were supposed to get a final decision by the end of the day Thursday, but have not gotten one. They’ve gotten calls from Anthem saying if the decision isn’t reversed, by Monday they will have to take Anthony out of the facility he’s in here in Tulsa, and transport him to a long-term care facility that is in-network, back in their home state of Wisconsin. The family says they are so grateful to the Tulsa community and their friends and family for donating to the Gofundme.
A local group is working to build a facility for people suffering from brain injuries.
Original story 01/22/2020:
A local man is in a coma 46 days after a suspected drunk driver hit his Lyft ride while running a stoplight.
On December 5, 26-year-old Anthony West and his girlfriend took a Lyft to the airport for vacation around 6:45 p.m. When a man police believe was intoxicated ran two cars off the road, and then slammed into West’s Lyft ride sitting at the stoplight. Everyone in the car got seriously injured and treated at St. John’s.
West has been in a coma since that moment. He’s mostly healed from all of his injuries except for his traumatic brain injury. He’s in a post-acute medical specialist hospital. His parents say doctors told them that anything can happen. His recovery could stop now and he could remain in a vegetative state forever, or he could recover completely.
For someone like him in a coma, with his injuries, there is a medical specialty called coma stimulation. The treatment can range from basic therapeutic efforts at a regular hospital to specific care facilities that specialize in this.
Wests’ insurance will only cover hospitals that are in-network. His parents say none of his in-network hospitals specialize in coma stimulation, and his best chance at living the life he used to will come with this kind of care. They say they’ll do whatever it takes to get him there, if it means figuring out how to paying for themselves.
Family and friends have set up a fundraiser to help them get Anthony to the hospital that has the best chance at helping him.
Anthony’s father says there should be stricter penalties for DUI, specifically higher fines. He believes high fines would be the most powerful deterrent.
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