Helping a dream stay on track

CFO Kevin Brenan and social worker Karen Weaver at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.
CFO Kevin Brenan and social worker Karen Weaver at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.

 

sidebar

From the Executive VP

Charity care in Emory Healthcare Overview
When watch and wait is the only option
• A gift of time
Found for follow-up
Sending Jason home

Caring for the elderly

Caring for kids

Care at Grady Hospital

Emory and the Atlanta VA Medical Center

Serving locally and globally

Research

Education

Economic impact

Woodruff Health Sciences Center

Juan Martinez was putting shingles on a new house when his hand seemed to let go of the hammer of its own volition and he began to slide down the slanted roof.

After weeks of rehab,  Martinez was able to walk out of the hospital and is back on the road to being able to work again.

A co-worker caught him before he fell, but he still seemed confused. His right side didn't work. He could talk but it didn't sound right somehow. Someone—maybe the frightened crew boss—drove him to nearby Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital (ESJH), pausing only to tell the emergency department team that he didn't know Juan's age, medical history, or exactly where he came from, just that he was hard-working, reliable, and good at what he did. Martinez's own words to the clinicians were scrambled but urgent, focused on the hopes that had brought him to this country. Cómo puedo trabajar así? How can I work like this? He could raise neither his leg nor arm on his right side. Help me, por el amor de dios, help me.

A Spanish-speaking nurse told Martinez he had had a stroke, un derrame cerebral, that he was in good hands and that no, no, please, he shouldn't worry about his lack of money, only about lying still while the doctors examined him and began infusion of a drug that could dissolve the clot causing his symptoms. By the time his friend arrived, a Spanish-speaking American from his church, Martinez was sleeping in the ICU, connected to monitors and drips.

Martinez was 45, or something like that, said the man. He had seemed healthy and sometimes played baseball with the church team on Sunday afternoons if there was no work. He lived in an apartment with his brother and three or four other men from his village in Mexico, saving every penny, watching TV at night to learn English. Insurance? The American smiled sadly.

After he had spent several days in ESJH, Martinez's confusion cleared, and his speech improved. But regaining use of his arm and leg, especially the fine motor skills needed for construction work, would require acute inpatient rehabilitation: hours of daily physical and occupational therapy, like that provided at Emory University Hospital's Center for Rehabilitation Medicine. Social worker Karen Weaver and care coordinator Susan Freed discussed Martinez's case with hospital CFO Kevin Brenan, who approved the charity care needed for Martinez. Recovery took weeks of work on Martinez' part and tens of thousands of dollars in charity care, but he was able to walk out of the rehab center into his brother's arms. He's recovering, and he is back on the road to being able to work again and keep his dream for a better life intact.

Table of Contents




Community Benefits Report Cover 2012