Cameron proudly served his country for 12 years until he was injured and forced to be medically discharged, giving up a career he truly loved and lived for. He fought his way back physically through 4 back surgeries to once again be able to serve his country and fellow human beings by becoming a firefighter and risking his life for complete strangers without a second thought. After being injured again in the service of others and contracting this fatal disease while in the hospital, Cameron now needs the help from the very same people he would gladly have laid his life down for.
Over the last five months Cameron has been dealing with a great deal of physical, mental and financial hardships and his current healthcare provider is no longer able to give the proper care he needs and deserves. In order to get the medical attention needed, he must seek care outside of what his insurance is willing to cover, meaning all associated cost would be out of pocket. Things including doctor visits, tests, hospital stays, experimental medications, travel costs, etc. Kaiser doesn’t do experimental treatments like UCLA, USC, UC Berkeley etc so their hands are tied at this point.
Here’s the back story of the current situation for those of you who aren’t aware. In October, Cameron ruptured his bicep tendon while performing his job as a Firefighter. A distal bicep tendon repair surgery was needed, which is when they reattached the tendon by drilling a hole in the bone and sewing the tendon through a titanium button. He had his first surgery, but just two days later the tendon ruptured again. Because of this, his surgeon decided to leave the first button in saying if he took it out it would cause too much damage and it shouldn’t cause a problem to leave in long term. Second surgery went same as the first, except now his arm contains 2 titanium buttons. No movement or use of his arm and lots of rest were what was needed to heal. Over the next four months Cameron did as he was instructed by doctors including medication regimens, limited use of arm, etc. Even though his pain was never treated correctly and left him in a constant state of misery he continued to push through to heal his arm. As it seemed his arm was healing, he was instructed to go to physical therapy to gain back the mobility in his arm, to be able to return to work and life. Two weeks into physical therapy a large bump formed under the scar left from his prior surgeries. The physical therapy office sent him home and told him to go get it looked at by his surgeon and not come back until he was cleared. That night we went to the emergency room as the bump was extremely large, tender and warm to the touch with redness that seemed to be spreading. He was told it was probably just a hematoma by two different people (ER Physician and on call Ortho Surgeon) and to just put a pressure wrap on it and alternate between hot and cold compresses. He was also seen by his surgeon and department of labor doctor that week and both also said the same, no blood tests or any tests ordered to check for what the actual source was or if it was in fact infected. Cameron tried explaining everything he was feeling over and over but was dismissed time after time. Over the course of three weeks the bump didn’t decrease in size, pain or redness and only seemed to worsen. He lost about 80% of the ability to use his arm because the swelling cut off the nerves. The bump then began to bleed on its own. He went back to the hospital and they lanced the bump which then became an abscess when they tried to clean out what they could of an infection that had formed. (So not just a hematoma after all) They packed the wound and he was instructed to change the packing dressing 3 times a day. After begging and pleading with ANYONE who would listen, an MRI was finally ordered to see what was actually causing the growth. Cameron received an urgent call the second his surgeon saw the results saying that he needed to come in for emergency surgery as soon as a bed was open because the MRI showed the infection deep in his bones and antibiotics were not going to be able to take care of it. This infection was picked up in the hospital during his original surgeries and attached itself to the hardware inside of Camerons arm. They now needed to remove all the hardware while also keeping their fingers crossed that the tendon was now scarred over enough to stay attached without the buttons. This surgery would include three doctors (Orthopedic surgeon, Hand surgeon and an Infectious Disease Specialist) and two different incision sites to clean out the infection. For this surgery they cut open the same incision site they had two times before and then drilled a hole close to his elbow to remove both pieces of titanium hardware as well as cleaned out all of the infection they could. Recovery in the hospital was tough; no relief from pain, antibiotics were making him sick, they were not the correct ones, and the nurses were rude and dismissive. During his time at the hospital they inserted a PICC line so that he could do his own antibiotic infusions when and if he was deemed stable enough to return home. This would be his fourth antibiotic since they found out it was an infection but still didn’t know what bacteria they were fighting so it was a guessing game that had terrible side effects. One of the wrong antibiotics was so toxic that it reduced his kidney function by 40% in a matter of 4 days. The night before he was supposed to be released from the hospital he had a heart attack which was caused from a blood clot blockage. The rapid response team came and took life saving measures to correct the clot. Fast forward to test results from blood work and cultures finally received; turns out that he in fact has an infection that is resistant to all antibiotics and also mutates called pseudomonas aeruginosa that had already spread into his blood and organs. With this comes the possibility of losing his arm, his career and certain death because of resistance to all antibiotics if not controlled and treated properly. His multiple health care providers have been giving contradicting information about what is happening and what will come of this. All of this news took a huge psychological toll on Cameron and he decided going to see Psychiatry may be a good idea to help give him some mental relief. Instead he was treated with disrespect because of his past with Kaiser psych for such things as severe depression and PTSD being that he is a combat veteran. Uncontrolled pain, damaged mental state, crushed spirits and he is still being dismissed by the ones who are supposed to be caring for him. Kaiser’s physicians in all departments have only let him down at this point and getting an outside second opinion is the only option left according to his department of labor case worker and assigned nurse.
Kaiser has explored all options and the department of labor nurse and doctors were trying to reach out to see if there is anything they could try to do with major hospitals for experimental trials, but unfortunately they don’t take department of labor insurance, Kaiser or the VA. So since all other avenues have been exhausted, going to see a specialist at a major hospital who’s willing to think outside the box while paying out of pocket in order to save his life, arm and career are the only option. Since being on workman’s comp and also being single, Cameron only receives 66% of his monthly pay which means he doesn’t meet the requirements to receive grants because they still say he makes too much. The goal for this fund raiser is simply to give him a fighting chance and to take any step necessary to beat this disease and hopefully motivate others struggling through similar situations not to ever give up until your last breath. The bottom line is from what was told to Cameron by his medical team was that even if he were to survive this disease, it’s lifelong antibiotics, makes him very susceptible to things like pneumonia, strep, staph infections and worst
of all, he will not be able to return to the fire department and the job he lives for because it’s highly contagious. Thank you in advance for reading this and any donations and please help us get the word out to help this man who has dedicated his life to serving his country and helping those in their greatest time of need.
Any unused money for medical costs will be donated to St.Jude’s Children’s Hospital.