Monday, October 24, 2011

In Which Ironicus Clears It Up

You know why we're doing this?

This is why:
By all accounts, Mark Lindquist is a hero, an underpaid social worker who nearly gave his life trying to save three developmentally disabled adults from the Joplin tornado. Both houses of the Missouri legislature honored Lindquist, the Senate resolution calling him "a true hero and inspiration to others." The tornado's 200 mph winds tossed Lindquist nearly a block, broke every rib, obliterated his shoulder, knocked out most of his teeth and put him in a coma for about two months.
Now, despite what Eric Cantor, Herman Cain and republican debate audiences say,  we're pretty sure everyone with a beating heart larger than a raisin and a degree of empathy just a tad greater than a European paper wasp would agree that this guy could use a little assistance. Especially if you're an insurance company whose job it is to step up during catastrophic events and help people get back on their feet. Right?
But he has no medical insurance. Lindquist couldn't afford it on a job paying barely above minimum wage. He assumed workers' compensation would cover his bills, but his claim was denied "based on the fact that there was no greater risk than the general public at the time you were involved in the Joplin tornado," according to a letter to Lindquist from Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, his company's workers' comp provider.
Wrong. "...there was no greater risk than the general public at the time you were involved in the Joplin tornado." What does that even mean? Oh wait, we know: We're not covering your claim even though you were severely injured while performing your job (above and beyond the call of duty we might add) because, well...Bonuses!
Lindquist's survival defies logic. After the storm, rescuers found Lindquist buried in rubble, impaled by a piece of metal. Large chunks of flesh were torn off. Bones from his shoulder crumbled as they placed him on a door used as a makeshift stretcher. He was later delivered to Freeman Hospital.
A spokesperson for the Accident Fund complained that by surviving Lindquist had "really screwed up the actuarial tables" and had filed his claim at a "most inconvenient time" right at the close of the quarter when Profit and Loss statements were due. "Very little consideration was shown to the Accident Fund by this claimant" read a statement from company headquarters.

Doctors told Baldwin that if Lindquist survived, it likely would be in a vegetative state. Even in a best-case scenario, he likely would be blind in one eye, never regain use of his right arm, and never speak or think normally, she was told. Things got worse. Debris that got into the open sores caused a fungal infection, one that killed five other Joplin tornado victims. Lindquist overcame the fungus but remained at Freeman until June 16. Still in a coma, he was flown to a hospital in Columbia for a little over a month before being sent to a rehab center in Mount Vernon where he awakened.
Michael Britt, President of the Accident Fund told reporters that, "by refusing to die when all reliable medical opinion  had declared him a lost cause, Mr.Lindquist was obviously trying to take advantage of the generous workers comp programs offered by our company."
Jahn Hurn, CEO of Community Support Services, said the agency has asked Accident Fund Insurance to reconsider Lindquist's case. Insurance company spokeswoman Stepheni Schlinker said she could not discuss an individual claim or whether the company would reconsider.
"We're banking on a setback," Schlinker told reporters. And even if the guy does make it, he's so banged up he'll probably never work again, so what are we supposed to do? Support him for the rest of his life? Can you imagine what our investors would say to that?"

#occupy. Any questions?

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