Thirty-nine-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder, Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes via vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office, including brain stem and cerebellum bleeds, in Oct. 2011. Jenni remained hospitalized for nearly 2 months and was not expected to live (near death experience) nor recover, but if she even survived, she was slated to live out her days in a nursing home or, best case, to maybe come home but wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months God showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jenni is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Here is her resume.

Since Jenni's chiropractor carried no insurance and moved out of the country soon after the accident (thus avoiding any legal or financial consequences), if you would like to help contribute to the Saake (pronounced like the two small words, say and key) family's massive financial needs (medical expenses alone are estimated to cost between $1- and $1.5- Million in Jenni's lifetime), please visit Jennifer Saake's Stroke Survivor GoFundMe Page. (This support information has been added in direct response to several reader requests.) The Saakes sincerely thank you for your prayers and if God prompts and equips you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Law

I shared the details of my story on my two year stroke-a-versary, but since that posy was SO long, here's the sixth section (out of 8 sections) of the main body of the post, for your easier reference. If anything here confuses you or you want more information, please remember to visit the original post for full context! http://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/2013/10/2-years-rest-of-story.html

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6. Law

So, onto our next most-frequently asked questions concerning liability and legal action. Shortly after my accident we were informed that my chiropractor did not carry any insurance for his practice. We never received any legally sworn testimony to this fact (yes, we requested a sworn affidavit, but have never seen one), but we tend to take the statement at face value because 1. chiropractors are not legally required to carry insurance to practice in Nevada, 2. it has become our understanding that, while reasonably priced and logical, it is common practice for chiropractors not to undertake this added little expense of operation in our state (and are even coached on specific wording on how to express sympathy when someone has a stroke so as not to implicate themselves as carrying any responsibility), 3. had he actually carried insurance, it would have been a simple matter of contacting his insurance company to start his claim rather than taking the risk of a lawsuit against his own person.


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In Nevada, if we were going to file any legal motion, we only had 12 months to take action. This seems ironic, as I was still pretty incapacitated during that entire time frame, but, difficult as it was, we attended several emotionally and physically challenging meetings with our lawyer over the course of that first year. My expected medical, therapy and adaptive equipment needs over my lifetime are estimated to run between a million and a million and a half dollars. If we had pushed for "pain and suffering," (I had NO idea how high the emotional and relational cost of this kind of situation, so I would not have objection to seeking some of this compensation as well), we could have, very legitimately, asked for significantly more.
 
 
At first (in the hospital) I really struggled with the idea of taking legal action at all. After all, I do not believe this doctor had any vindictive motive nor intent to harm me. My strokes were exactly what we've called them all along, the result of a true accident. Eventually, several doctors, therapists, family members and godly advisors helped me to understand that seeking compensation for medical need wasn't vindictive either, but was simply the way our system is set up to address these kinds of monumental needs, the reason people buy insurance in the first place.

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Because he had no insurance, he likely would not have the assets to cover our entire needs, but he would be required to shoulder at least a portion of the expenses. My Christian rehab hospitalist was someone who especially moved me when I asked her straight out for her opinion, not as my doctor, but as my sister in Christ, how she would think I should proceed with Biblical principles about the law in mind. She did not hesitate to tell me to consider my responsibilities as wife and mother, future medical needs, and the best interest of my family, for whom she better understood the long-term implications of my strokes and the devastating ramifications (financial and otherwise) of the extent of my injuries.

 
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So we spent weeks researching our options and finally moved forward with a lawyer. We prayed for God to clearly open and shut doors and give us wisdom and clarity in how to proceed with each step. Shortly before our 1-year filing deadline, we learned that my chiropractor had closed his practice shortly after my strokes, temporarily joined his brother (also a chiropractor, located on the other side of the valley)'s practice for a brief timeframe, then (right about the time my records were requested by our lawyer), had moved out of country, about 4 months after my initial strokes. It felt like a punch in the gut that, in the amount of time I had spent in the hospital, plus an equal amount of home and outpatient recovery and hard-core therapies, that he “ran away” to live his life somewhere that wouldn’t be such a daily reminder of all that had transpired. And here I sat, still unable to even walk on my own! In all fairness, we do not know for a fact that this move was NOT already in the plans even before my strokes, but we do not know that it was either.  Either way, the timing felt rather suspicious.

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Bottom line, by probably even the time I was willing to start the pursuit of legal action to address liability, he had already moved outside of U.S. jurisdiction! When this fact was uncovered, months after it was too late, our lawyer advised us that we could continue to court on principle and had a very strong case and high likelihood of being awarded a significant judgment in our favor. But because he was no longer in country, ultimately "winning" such a case would only be a hollow victory because there would likely be no implementation possible and the legal fees would be several thousand dollars out of our pockets, should we desire to advance the case (thus why it would not be prudent to file now, in the event that he might or might not someday return to this country). I looked at both Rick and the lawyer and replied, "You can't get a much bigger 'closed door' than him leaving the country!"

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At that point, we let the lawsuit drop and the statute of limitations expire on our case. So no help there, and no Social Security or other forms of disability income because I don't have enough "work history" to qualify! (Homeschooling one's children does not legally count as being a contributing member of society I guess!) We were very blessed that our health insurance covered much of my nearly 2 months of hospitalization as well as several therapy items and appointments over these past two years (though we have had to really fight for some of this), but there has already been much they haven't covered. I keep leaning on God's promise that He will supply all our needs!

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If you would like to read more of my story, please select from Basics and Why I've Not Shared Before and Story Details, Medical Expectations, Manipulation Mechanics, Goals, Reflections on Forgiveness, or My Victory Declaration. Thank you for walking a little piece of this journey with me.

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