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This fundraiser ended on 05/01/13

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All money collected will go to Christian and the Vogel family and will help ensure that Christian has a full and speedy recovery!

One of the maintenance workers in the building where I am employed, Christian Vogel was critically injured in a motor vehicle accident. Since he just started working two weeks prior to the accident, Christian had not yet qualified for health insurance. Although I have only known Christian for a short amount of time, I just couldn't walk away without trying to help his family pay for some of his mounting medical bills.

On Saturday September 15, 2012, Christian Vogel, 24, of Central Islip, NY took his motorcycle to CVS to pick up a prescription after having his wisdom teeth pulled just days earlier. Just moments after leaving the CVS parking lot, which is located just a mile from his home, the driver of a Nissan Altima suddenly without notice made a left hand turn in front of Christian, resulting in a devastating accident that left Christian in a coma for over six weeks with severe injuries to the right side of his body.

Upon impact with the vehicle, Christian's right femur bone was shattered in two, breaking straight through his thigh. Among his other injuries were a broken foot, hand, arm, and broken right thumb that was nearly completely severed from his hand. Police and paramedics arrived on the scene just moments after the accident and Christian was immediately transported to Southside Hospital. After his arrival at the hospital, it was clear to the doctors that Christian had suffered severe trauma to the head and brain. It was at this point, that the decision was made to move Christian to North Shore LIJ Hospital in Manhasset, as it is one of the top head trauma hospitals in the State of New York.

Once Christian arrived at North Shore LIJ, his CAT Scans showed that he had severe swelling in his brain, and if necessary actions were not taken, this injury could have proved to be fatal. Less than 24 hours after a devastating motorcycle accident, Christian underwent surgery to have more than 3/4 of his skull removed in an attempt to relieve the pressure that was building up in his brain. Unable to operate on the other injuries sustained in the crash, including his severely fractured femur bone, Christian was placed in a medically induced coma until his brain was stable enough to handle the multiple stressful surgeries that were soon to follow.

Two days after the accident, Christian's leg had still not been operated on and the extent of his brain injuries were still unknown, yet the doctors temporarily brought Christian out of the coma. Once out of the coma, Christian shocked everyone, including his doctors, when he raised his hand and gave a reassuring thumb up and was responding to commands from his doctors that included showing two fingers, and wiggling his toes. After seeing this type of response from someone who had been in such a devastating accident, the doctors were shocked, saying they “have never seen anyone with these injuries respond that quickly.”

It was at that point that everything his friends and family knew had been confirmed - Christian is quite possibly the toughest person alive and he wouldn’t be giving up that easily. In the days to come, Christian’s right femur bone would be replaced with a metal rod and a plastic surgeon would perform several skin grafts to close the wound on his leg.

However, while his external injuries were healing, there were still no updates on the severity of Christian’s brain injuries. Christian was moved to St. Johnsland Rehabilitation where he was to start occupational, physical and speech therapy.  Christian slowly started to make progress beginning with blinking on command. Shortly thereafter, for some unknown reason, Christian was not given certain medications and was transferred by ambulance to St. Catherine’s Hospital and then transferred to Good Samaritan Hospital.  While in Southside Hospital, Christian developed MRSA and became septic (a dangerous blood infection that has traveled through his body).  Because of the severity of Christian’s brain injuries and these new issues, Christian was transferred back to North Shore LIJ Hospital. As soon as the doctors were able to stabilize Christian and get the MRSA and sepsis under control, every attempt was made to have Christian transferred to St. Charles Rehabilitation.  Unfortunately, St. Charles turned down Christian because he now had a history of MRSA (developed MRSA in St. Charles Hospital) and Christian was sent back to St. Johnsland Rehabilitation.  Christian was once again was on the road to making progress.  Most recently, Christian was starting to recognize people in pictures and was saying their names. Things were looking up for Christian. This past Friday, Christian was sitting in his wheelchair by a window and said “snowing” twice. Friday evening, when the weather started to get worse, Christian’s mom left St. Johnsland for the long, slow drive home in the icy conditions.  Shortly after arriving home, his mom received a telephone call from St. Johnsland informing her that Christian had fallen out of his wheelchair and had a gash on his head.  His mom contacted neighbors who drove her in their truck through the icy blizzard back to St. Johnsland where she sat with Christian still on the floor and waited for an ambulance to take him to St. Catherine’s Hospital. Once at St. Catherine’s Hospital, it was determined Christian did not need stitches. Christian had a CAT Scan which showed bleeding in the brain and x-rays that showed a fracture in his left leg. Christian remains in St. Catherine's Hospital.  We attempted once again, to see if St. Charles Rehabilitation will take Christian once he is well enough to go back to rehab. Unfortunately, their rule is once a patient has MRSA they will not allow them to enter into their facility (Christian was infected with MRSA at Southside Hospital). Christian absolutely CANNOT go back to St. Johnsland Rehabilitation. The two times he was there has set him back and landed him back in the hospital in much worse shape than when he went in. I contacted Camille at Christian Home Nursing in Smithtown and she is onboard to get Christian home with in home nursing services and occupational, physical and speech therapy.

However, while his external injuries were healing before he sustained additional injuries at St. Johnsland Rehabilitation, there were still no updates on the severity of Christian’s brain injuries. To this day, the severe swelling in Christian’s brain has remained consistent and now he has bleeding in his brain. It is still unclear to even the best neurologists at North Shore LIJ, exactly how severe his brain injuries will be in the long run. From what they can see, the frontal and partial lobes of Christian’s brain absorbed most of the trauma as a result of the accident. Three quarters of Christian’s skull is now made of titanium.  While the swelling is severe, it will not be known exactly how bad the injuries are until Christian is able to receive the much needed occupational, physical and speech therapies that Christian so desperately needs. Christian has undergone multiple surgeries to remove the fluid that was building around his brain and the neurosurgeons placed a stent in his head.

While the extent of Christian’s brain injuries is still mostly unknown, what is certain is that Christian’s road to recovery will be a very long and challenging battle. Christian is unable to move and is unable to speak more than one word at a time and sometimes no words at all. Christian is looking at years of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and brain trauma rehabilitation. Currently, Christian’s medical bills are well over 4 million dollars, an amount that Christian’s family will never be able to repay and this is not including any of the therapies that Christian will desperately need in the future. Thankfully, Christian was just approved for Medicaid.

Christian is only 24 years old! He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He did absolutely nothing wrong and his life has been ruined. His family’s life has been turned upside down – nothing will ever be the same for them. A road that is sure to be a very difficult and tedious one for Christian and the Vogel family has already been made easier and more hopeful thanks to an amazing level of support and outreach from friends and family as well as the community as a whole.

But the Vogel family still needs help.  Christian cannot go back to St. Johnsland Rehabilitation. He needs to be home where he can have 24 hour care and the chance to heal and recover the best he can with occupational, physical and speech therapy. Christian, however, cannot go home unless his home is renovated. His home is too small – the doorways are too narrow to accommodate his wheelchair. (Christian’s wheelchair is a large model to accommodate his entire body from head to toe). His bedroom is too small making it impossible to have a hospital bed and his wheelchair in there at the same time.  I am not asking for a new home, I am begging, pleading to have his home renovated just enough so Christian can go home where he will receive the care he deserves. Christian and his family were let down by unfortunate failures in our healthcare (MRSA, sepsis, not being strapped in wheelchair causing fall creating bleeding on the brain, fracture and gash in head) instead of receiving the care he needed.

Please help me help Christian and his family!

 Words cannot express the gratitude and appreciation that is felt by the Vogel family, for all of your support. Please continue to show your support for Christian by helping renovate his home so he can go home and keeping him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

 I just couldn't walk away when I heard the devastating news of Christian's accident. I am asking you to look into your own hearts and ask yourselves honestly, “How would I feel if this was my loved one?” I have asked myself this same question and this is the reason I have chosen to help Christian and his family.

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