12 January 2009

Update on my niece's seizure ordeal and the John A. Coleman School & Children's Rehabilitation Center in Westchester County

You may recall that I last wrote about my niece, Jennal, in October 2008 when she had a really bad episode. I haven't really been keeping up with my blog lately but something just happened and I need to do a little writing to try and remain calm.

So at the beginning of the month, my niece, Jennal (pictured to the right) went into hospital @ NYU Medical Center in NYC. The purpose of this hospitalization was to induce her into having seizures, while she's hooked up to monitoring equipment, to map where in the brain the seizures are originating. Hopefully, once they find out where the seizures are originating, the doctors hope to remove those sections of her brain, provided that they're "unused" sections. Basically, they're going to do a partial lobotomy or something like that (brain surgery on a 4.5-year old). I don't think it's the greatest idea in the world and it's all very experimental but I'm not her guardian, and at least finding out where the seizures are originating from is a good thing.

They got three seizures recorded and all came from the same part of the brain. I forget where, exactly, but I can find out and edit this later. Right now I'm trying not to panic. The neurologists at NYU changed her anti-seizure medication a bit, as they found out that she has a lot of partial seizures. Don't ask me what this means; I'm not a neurologist. But the Epilepsy Foundation has a pretty good explanation of what a partial seizure is. Evidentally, this is the type of seizure that Jennal has most often.

So my sister sent me a text this morning that my niece was throwing up non-stop at school. About forty minutes later, she called me and said that Jennal had become "non-responsive" and so the school that she attends, the John A. Coleman School & Children's Rehabilitation Center in Westchester County, New York, called the ambulance to take her to the Emergency Room. I'm just like, what the fuck? Seriously, why didn't they call the ambulance after five minutes of non-stop puking? Granted, my niece now attends (and has only gone back to school) with a private duty nurse at her side but where was this nurse during the non-stop puking? I'm seriously going to have to have a little chat with my sister about going to see the attorney that I found.

OK so I just got off the phone with the attorney's assistant, with whom I've been dealing, to ask if the consultation fee of $550 could be waived, or if the case could be taken on a contingency or pro bono basis, and her assistant advised me that they don't do pro bono work at all and that a contingency fee arrangement would be "highly unlikely" but that she would ask and get back to me.

Why is it that only the very rich or the very poor are able to obtain legal services in this country?

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how I can get up to Westchester Medical Center Children's Hospital from Yonkers without any money. I hate not having a car/not being able to drive! :(