Man Waiting For Treatment - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/15/04-Longview

Man Waiting For Treatment

Daniel Fisher is unable to get out of his hospital bed at Good Shepherd Medical Center. The accident that put him here happened more than a month ago.

A truck slammed into a bridge on Interstate 20. A construction inspector with TX DOT, Daniel was inspecting the repair one rainy afternoon.

"They had some plastic that was shielding the rain. I reached up to push the plastic back. I tried to step around the platform. At that point, somehow or another, I lost my balance," says Daniel. "My first thought was, 'Oh my God I'm paralized.'"

Daniel fell 16 feet and landed on his back. He wasn't paralyzed, but doctors say his back and neck were broken.

Daniel soon discovered recovery wouldn't be simple. The doctor that treated him cannot accept patients under workers' compensation. Finding one that would take workers' comp has proven next to impossible.

"There's absolutely not a single orthopedic doctor in Longview period that takes worker's comp.," says Daniel.

No doctors in Tyler, Shreveport or Dallas would take him either. A medical social worker is trying to help him find a doctor who can treat him. "I've probably made 300 phone calls on his behalf and he's probably made about the same," says Pamela Health.

The problem is recent changes made to workers' compensation. Now, doctors don't receive much more compensation than they would receive from Medicaid and some doctors have had to hire extra employees just to file a claim. The result is most doctors have now opted out of the program.

"It's obviously a governmental issue. The system in the state of Texas is broken," says Pamela.

"This is not just my problem. This is a problem for anyone who is employed," says Daniel.

Doctors who have looked at Daniel's chart believe he will require surgery. But for now, all he can do is wait.

Daniel Fisher does have a lead on a doctor who may be able to take his case in Houston. He will need rehab at some point as well and needs to also find a rehabilitation center that will accept his workers' compensation.

Amy Tatum, reporting.

atatum@kltv.com

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