Nov 22, 2021 Latest post:
Aug 23, 2023
On Sunday, November 21, 2021, a weekend of celebration in Las Vegas turned tragic for longtime Piper, Kansas residents, Tom & Jody Jochen, as they were involved in a deadly rollover crash.
They, along with 6 friends, were traveling (in a private, for-hire, SUV with a driver) when they were T-boned, by a drunk driver. He was traveling at excessive speeds and ran a red light, causing the vehicle they were in to roll several times and strike a light pole. There were multiple life-altering injuries, passengers were trapped and one friend, heartbreakingly, lost her life. Tom had to be extricated from the vehicle.
We are now over nine long months into this ordeal and Tom is slated to return home, Tuesday, August 23d. He is considered a quadriplegic at this point. He's currently unable to move his legs and his right arm but is regaining SOME movement in his left arm. Jody continues to suffer and recover from her lifelong injuries at home.
Throughout this process, COVID has added to the angst as kids and other family members were not allowed to visit for months at a time. And the health care worker shortage has impacted the quality of their care.
TOM: -1 month at the University Las Vegas Hospital in the Trauma Unit where he received a pacemaker (we almost lost him twice) then he was air ambulanced to Denver -3 months were spent at Denver's Craig Hospital (known for their world-class spinal cord injury rehabilitation) where he worked to recover but was extremely hampered by a wound that they could not get under control - so much so they had to transfer Tom to PAM Hospital for wound care - 3 months at PAM Rehabilitation Hospital to heal his skin wound that moved into a bone, ultimately having to undergo surgery for it In addition, during that stay was transferred back and forth to two different hospitals (one for an emergency and the other for procedures) - On July 5th he was able to return to Craig (the entire reason we flew him to Denver) with his wound healed but if you can believe it with a NEW the wound on his foot that they never acknowledged or treated, so maddening
JODY: -1 month at University Las Vegas Hospital, starting in the Trauma Unit, just two doors down from Tom and four from their friend Susan. And the drunk driver a few beds away Then was transferred to PAM Rehabilitation in Las Vegas - While Tom's injuries are far more extensive, Jody may look fine but injuries are plaguing her - Continues to suffer and recover from her lifelong injuries at home plus she remembers the accident - Feel people do not fully realize what she is going through as she puts on a brave face and puts Tom and the kids first - Plus the stress of trying to be in three places at once, it's all on her shoulders, the kids, the bills, reworking their house, the insurance, and so on - Just July 20th, she was finally able to get a neurologist to take her case (to even get an appointment she had to withhold that she was in a car accident) until she got face-to-face with him in his office - She is going through a series of MRIs and tests for her pain and numbness
THE DRUNK DRIVER: The drunk driver has been sentenced to 6-20 years and 1-5 years for the various charges, We've arrived at the conclusion nobody wins in this situation. The sentencing day was heartwrenching.
Ways to help financially. Tom and Jody's insurance only covers a fraction of their care, this is magnified as they were out of network. They will need a special van to accommodate Tom's chair, Jody and the kids had to move from their 20+ year home to a ranch-style house that is now in the process of being retrofitted to be accessible. And to top it off neither are able to work at this point. 1) DONATE DIRECTLY TO UNION BANK FUND (no additional fees apply): - Venmo: @Jochen-Fund-4 (last 4 phone digits: 6056) or - Mail a check to 'The Jochen Family Donation' Union Bank P.O. Box 82535, Lincoln, NE 68501 - Jody and Tom have direct access to this account
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We cannot tell you how much we appreciate your ongoing support. We are in the midst of a life-changing journey. Thank you for your care and concern. ❤