This story came to me Saturday night, via Love Infinitely, on Twitter.
These two sisters, age 24 and 27, are victims. Keep that in mind. Love Infinitely has the details:
At the neighborhood park where the girls had just come from their walk, two groups of men had gotten into an argument on the basketball court. One group decided to leave the argument and headed toward their car. Once in their car, the other group went after them on foot and drew a gun. The men tried to drive away when shots were fired.
While trying to get away, the driver of that vehicle was shot in the head and his car skidded out of control and created a chain reaction of events. The vehicle hit 2 parked cars, one of them belonging to the Hermosillo’s cousin who had her 3 year old baby in the car seat . The car also hit an elderly gentleman who was out for an evening walk and then hit a fire hydrant before the car with the baby in it, slammed into a tree. The fire hydrant, as it went flying, hit Vanessa and Yoanna.
Yoanna suffered several broken limbs but it was pregnant Vanessa who was the most severely injured as the fire hydrant actually landed on her. She was revived by paramedics at the scene as her heart had stopped beating. Her pelvis was broken, ribs crushed, sternum cracked and broken limbs. The two girls were rushed to the hospital as was the elderly man and the young man who was shot in the head.
Here's what the scene looked like just after the accident:
These girls have no health insurance. I don't know why. I suspect they might be students, or hourly workers, or whatever. They are also innocent bystanders, and if what I'm about to tell you doesn't make you sick, I'm not sure anything could.
The Hermosillos have had to deal with another blow however. Despite the severity of the girl’s injuries, because the girls don’t have health insurance, the hospital hasn’t been able to do very much after their initial treatment. They sent Yoanna home with broken limbs to recover just a day after the accident. They didn’t even wrap or split her broken bones. They also didn’t giver her any medication and only recommended that she get a hospital bed, wheelchair, crutches and a walker. Luckily they found a kindhearted soul who donated these items to the family.
The hospital also wanted to send Vanessa home almost immediately after the accident even though she was barely holding on. The family pleaded with the hospital and she was allowed to stay for nearly a week but they told the Hermosillos that they won’t be able to give her medication. They are desperately trying to get the girls approved for some kind of charity care/medicare. The family has been going to desperate measures to take care of their girls, now both at home. They had to move Yoanna out of the donated hospital bed and move Vanessa into it since her injuries are much more severe. Not to mention taking care of all of the foster pups. One of them keeps vigil at Vanessa’s bedside.
Vanessa and Yoanna are the neighborhood dog rescuers, and it was their compassion for animals that had them out on the sidewalk at exactly that moment in time. Now, as the result of a freak accident that took the life of Vanessa's unborn child, they are broken, hurt, and denied medical care.
Because we are in that transition period where the Affordable Care Act is not yet effective and the federal government is not yet subsidizing health costs, these girls are simply liabilities on hospitals' balance sheets that aren't eligible for even the most basic treatment. Nothing. No medication for the pain, no set bones, no cast, nothing.
And because there isn't anyone who can, at this stage, be considered liable, there is no insurer (auto or otherwise) to pick up their medical costs.
In any other civilized society, this wouldn't even be an issue. Where are those charities Ron Paul talked up so highly during the debates? Why won't they help these girls? Yes, this one charity is trying to help, but they are only able to be a conduit to donations and not a provider. Where is the Catholic church? Where is someone -- anyone -- who will stand up and help innocent victims.
On Saturday it was revealed that the Koch machine spent a previously undisclosed $55 million to turn this nation against health care reform in 2010, and they funneled it via various nonprofits to pay for all those insidious ads that ran during the midterms. They got the Congress they paid for, and those bought-and-paid-for politicians are now wasting our time passing crappy bills banning abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood, and repealing the Affordable Care Act. Even more millions have gone into legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act.
Here's a fact. If the ACA had been in effect, these two young women who give so much to their community would never have been turned away at the hospital after suffering such grievous injuries. Never. They would have had access to health insurance, they would have had help with the costs, and it would have been there for them when that fire hydrant went flying across the street. The elderly man who was injured had Medicare, and remains hospitalized. The young women who happened to be in the path of a flying fire hydrant are sharing a hospital bed in their living room, with unset broken bones, no medication, in pain, and with no hospital to take them in.
This is wrong. It shouldn't happen in this country. If the repealers have their way, it will happen over and over and over again. The ACA isn't perfect, but it's a darn sight better than what these girls have right now.
Being an innocent bystander should not be cause for bankruptcy and ruined health. Yet, that is what is happening here and it's just flat wrong.
If anyone has suggestions for how these girls can get some treatment and some help, please reach out to Love Infinitely. If you'd like to donate to the fund to help the family, Love Infinitely is covering all of the PayPal charges and sending the full donations to the family.
These girls are the face every one of the corrupt Congressmen who think repealing even the most rudimentary health care reform is a good idea should see. They should gaze into their eyes and explain to these girls why they do not deserve even what dogs receive. Every. single. last. one. of. them. And then they should sit down and beg their God for forgiveness for their acts of human cruelty.
Update: Here is the local CBS news report of the accident which is at least mostly accurate with regard to the details of the crash, unlike the Modesto Bee, which reported only 'minor' pedestrian injuries.
Update 2: Many commenters have been skeptical of Love Infinitely. Brenda Rodriguez, founder of the project and the one organizing some help for this family has responded to those concerns in the comments. She left her email address for any of you with additional questions. In the meantime, please see this video from the local CBS affiliate for confirmation of the scene that night:
Update 3: Here is the raw video shot at the scene.
Update 4: I just spent about a half hour on the phone with Brenda Rodriguez, who is very much alive and had just come from seeing the sisters. She sent me these pictures to post with their permission.
This is Vanessa:
This is Yoanna:
That's their wheelchair and hospital bed in the living room. Thanks to the donations of kind people they were able to fill prescriptions today for medications. This happened. And these girls, despite the challenges ahead of them, are grateful to be alive and for the kindnesses of strangers toward them. They do, however, have many questions about how it can be that one moment they were fine, and the next they were on the ground.
Also, there is one correction that Brenda wanted to make to her original post, based on the security videos she viewed today from several different angles. Vanessa was hit by the hydrant, but she was also hit by the car. It wasn't just the hydrant that caused her injuries.