Insult to Injury: Texas Workers' Comp System Denies, Delays Medical Help
As Deputy Sheriff Ed Martin sat by his squad car in a fast-growing pool of his own blood, he called his wife and woke her at 3:30 a.m. He knew he might die from the point-blank shotgun blast that greeted him moments earlier when he knocked on a door for a 911 call in a tiny east Texas town called China.
“It’s pretty bad and I don’t know how it’s gonna turn out,” Martin told his wife as he awaited a helicopter medical evacuation. “Get the kids and meet me at the hospital.”
When they arrived, Martin was on a gurney and covered with a white sheet splotched red. His wife clutched their sleepy 2-year-old daughter to her chest as their sons, 6 and 10, stood at her side.
“I know it was tough for them,” Martin says, retelling the story of that night in June 2006 in the flat monotone of cop-speak. “But I wasn’t sure if I’d make it through surgery and I wanted to at least tell them ‘Hello’ and ‘I love you.’ ”
Doctors say Martin’s life was saved by his ballistic vest and the swift trip to the hospital in Beaumont, near the Gulf Coast and the Louisiana border. But the blast vaporized the skin of his inner arm down to bare muscle and tendons, and tore out the main artery.
A couple of weeks later, Martin got a phone call from an insurance adjuster handling his workers’ compensation claim. He was told the $7,300 helicopter ride was “not medically necessary” and likely would not be covered.
Continue reading, “Insult to Injury: Texas Workers’ Comp System Denies, Delays Medical Help,” online in the October ABA Journal.