A second chance at life

Grady doctors

  Atlanta's Safety Net

Atlanta’s safety net at Grady

From a minor illness to full-blown AIDS

Three times daily with food

Rebecca Moore (below, right, in red jacket) remembers the massive light pole that appeared unexpectedly as she tried to leave the expressway exit.

She remembers the impact, the sense that something had gone terribly wrong with her body, the Grady EMS team, ceiling lights flashing by as she was rushed into surgery. Then nothing.

She spent five weeks in a medically induced coma while a team of Emory trauma surgeons and Grady nurses repaired the jumble of injuries she had suffered. The collapsed lung, broken ribs, ankle and leg fractures were standard high-impact fare, but trauma surgeon Christopher Dente (pictured at top) and his team also found massive bleeding in Moore's abdomen. The impact had torn both of her kidneys and severed her colon. In addition to kidney repair (and dialysis), she required a temporary colostomy and a skin graft. She remained in the hospital six weeks and returned, two or three times a week, for the following seven months.

Rebecca Moore

The first time Moore asked about how much all this was costing—long before the final surgeries to reverse the colostomy and reconstruct her abdominal wall, before the return visits and twice-weekly physical rehab sessions—the bill had already exceeded $500,000. Two months before the accident, the 32-year-old single mother had health insurance, but that vanished when she left her job to work in a restaurant while starting her own business.

Who would pay the mounting costs? During her coma, social workers had helped Moore's family apply for Medicaid. Eventually, the hospital and the Emory Medical Care Foundation, the billing agency for Emory physician services at Grady, received partial payment for the bill, even if only a fraction of the total cost. But the big payoff for Dente and the team who cared for her is the sight of a healthy, happy Moore, now a frequent volunteer at Grady.

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