Monthly Archives: April 2007

Jury: Give him $11M for injury

Jury: Give him $11M for injury

Thursday, April 12, 2007



A Hudson County jury awarded a Hoboken man $11.6 million this week for personal injury damages sustained in a 2004 accident.

Michael Brady, who has suffered from a severe chronic pain syndrome called reflex sympathetic dystrophy since breaking his foot in 1999, saw his condition worsen substantially when the driver of an ambulance transporting him to physical therapy swung the vehicle’s door into his crutches, causing him to fall down and break his foot again.

“It went from real bad to real worse,” Brady’s lawyer, William L. Gold, summarized.

Before the exacerbation, Brady was on crutches, but since then he has been wheelchair bound and “is now severely impaired in all activities of daily living,” according to Gold.

“He requires a full-time home health aide to assist him in all activities of daily living, which was not required prior to the incident,” Gold said.

Under the verdict, Multicare Ambulance, a Phoenix-based company, was held responsible for the injury.

“The sad part was that the driver testified that he received no training, that there was no protocol about how to pick up patients,” Gold said.

Formerly a sales manager for a company that sells ultrasonic water purifiers, Brady has been receiving workman’s compensation since breaking his foot in an accident on a New York City subway in 1999.

From this injury, which while serious is usually not permanently debilitating, Brady developed RSD, a degenerative condition that causes severe pain in the area around an injury. RSD often spreads beyond the immediate area of the injury, and Brady’s exacerbation has caused this to happen.

“It has spread to his arms, and virtually all over his body,” said Gold. “He can’t walk. He’s wheelchair bound, and he has a hand he can’t use. His left hand has basically turned into a claw.”

Gregory Irwin, the attorney representing Multicare Ambulance, said that his client had prohibited him from commenting.

According to a press release issued by Gold’s office, an eight-person jury returned a verdict of $14.5 million in favor of Brady: $5 million for his pain and suffering; $7 million for future care costs; and $2.5 million to Brady’s wife. However, the total amount was reduced by 20 percent, to $11.6 million, for comparative negligence.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.



Rogge remembers rough road

Rogge remembers rough road

By Anna Krejci, Dells Events



Virginia Rogge’s lifestyle today has drastically changed from what it was 24 years ago.

Married and living in a home north of Wisconsin Dells, Rogge, 52, was once homeless and pregnant at 28. When she thinks of her home she becomes emotional because there was a time when she lacked a warm, safe place to sleep at night.

In 1982 Rogge said she lived in Pardeeville with her boyfriend, the father of the child she was carrying, until he made her leave when he found out she was pregnant.

“I was out the door,” she said. “I searched and I searched, and I couldn’t tell my mom. I was 28 years old, but I wasn’t married,” she said.

Not only did she conceal her pregnancy from family, but she also tried to hide the fact that she was homeless.

“You really don’t want anybody to know,” she said.

She was born and raised in Baraboo, but she spent a lot of time hitchhiking to Wisconsin Dells and sleeping in the nearby woods or in gas stations so no one she knew from her childhood would know she was homeless, she said.

“There’s such a stigma to it that the only reason you’re homeless is because you’re lazy. And that’s not the truth. I wasn’t lazy. I had somebody that I thought that loved me and he kicked me out. He abandoned me. And then I tried to get a job, and I was pregnant and they don’t like to hire you when you’re pregnant because you’re a liability,” Rogge said.

Rogge recalled what she lived through as a homeless person.

“I had to dive in dumpsters. The thing is you get hungry and if you don’t have any money you gotta do what you gotta do,” she said.

By digging through garbage, Rogge said she found food and small quantities of shampoo and soap left in containers.

“I’d go into the bathrooms at the gas station and wash my hair,” she said. “That’s how I tried to stay a little bit clean, it’s not like you could take a shower,” she said.

Some of the gas stations were open 24 hours, and she said she would sleep in a bathroom stall all night. Other times she slept in the woods, wearing a coat, parka and sleeping under a thin, knit blanket that she found discarded.

She said she was afraid she would get raped or beaten. One time she was robbed of the money she had panhandled during the day, she said.

Rogge said she begged for money mostly in Baraboo where on a good day she would collect $10. She never tried it in Wisconsin Dells, even though she often came to the Dells to sleep.

“And that was a lot of money. Ten dollars could last me a week,” she said.

With the money she said she would buy bread, or things that wouldn’t spoil because she had no access to a refrigerator. Occasionally she would go to a deli in the grocery store and buy one slice of deli meat at a time.

Sometimes she would “splurg,” she said, and buy shampoo and deodorant.

She recalled going to a fair in Baraboo and watching people throw away food only so she could reclaim it for herself when nobody was looking.

Even though Rogge has a home now, there was a time in 1996 when she felt her home might be taken away from her.

Her mother had just died and her husband, a welder, had been laid off from a job he held for 16 years at Kilbourn Machine Shop, Rogge said.

“I didn’t want to be homeless with two children and a husband,” she said.

They were able to hold onto their home, but Rogge said she sometimes cries just thinking about the prospect of becoming homeless again.

“Homelessness is only a paycheck away,” she said.

Rogge said she believes homeless people live in Wisconsin Dells despite claims by others that the problem doesn’t exist here.

“They all have the blinders on. They don’t see it,” she said.

But Rogge said anyone walking with their head down might be homeless.

“I can pretty much read a homeless person,” she said. “A lot of homeless people won’t look you in the eye.”

“They’ll look down because they’re ashamed. And I think that’s the worst part of it is the shame. And when you have children it’s the guilt.”

Rogge said she was worried her unborn daughter would be unhealthy because of her experience with homelessness.

The fear of giving birth in the woods led her to finally accept help from family. She moved in with an aunt and uncle who lived in Baraboo at the time.

She learned how to tap into services such as rental assistance, food stamps and received a Medical Assistance card so she could receive financial help with costs associated with child birth.

The first job Rogge obtained after her 8-month stint as a homeless person was as a nursing assistant with a nursing home in Wisconsin Dells. She later went on to work at Zinke’s Village Market and Tri-City Insurance, she said.

Rogge received help in the 1980s, but she said today people still find themselves without homes.

“All I wanted was a chance. And that’s all these people need,” she said.

She said she hoped the owners of the waterparks and amusement parks would donate money towards running a homeless shelter in Wisconsin Dells, but Rogge said rich people are selfish. People surviving on low-incomes are the ones helping the people who are even worse off, she said.

Rogge has little sympathy for the housing needs of foreign workers or workers who come to the area looking for temporary employment.

“I don’t care about the kids who come here in the summer time and their job. What I care about is the people who live here now and have no where to live. People who are coming in here to work here during the summer leave and go back home. They have homes. The people who are here who are homeless are looking for a home and they can’t find a home. That’s who I worry about,” Rogge said.

Low-paying jobs and lack of affordable housing in the area are two factors contributing to the area’s homelessness, Rogge said.

Earning $7.25 an hour won’t pay for rent, utilities, food, gas and child care, she said.

Rogge said some people are homeless because of their own doing.

“But there are a lot of good people that are out there because they cut their hours on their job and they’re like ‘OK, do I pay my rent or do I feed my kids?'” she said.

Rogge’s life is more stable now, although she said she is receiving disability payments for a condition called reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

The payments have been made on the house she lives in with her husband.

“This is mine and nobody can take it away,” Rogge said. “I want other people to feel that way too.”

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Teen athlete slowed by neurological disorder

Teen athlete slowed by neurological disorder

Saturday, April 07, 2007

By Jessica Beym

MONROE TWP. Injuries never kept Ashley McFadden off the soccer field until three years ago, when a doctor diagnosed her with a neurological syndrome that causes constant pain in her arm.

“Nothing ever stopped her,” Ashley’s mother, Jackie McFadden, said. “Even with pins in her wrist, she tried to convince the coach to bubble-wrap her arm and let her in the game.”

Now, to get the 15-year-old sports fanatic on the road to recovery and back on the field, friends and family are hosting a benefit in her honor.

Proceeds from “Help Stop the Burning,” a dinner and Chinese auction planned for April 21 at Fratello’s Catering in Franklin Township, will help pay for a visit by Ashley and her mother to a specialist in Boston.

McFadden said her daughter, the youngest of three, was her “tomboy” who played soccer, basketball and volleyball whenever she had the chance.

Repeated injuries to the same arm a broken wrist from soccer and dislocated arm from bowling may have caused the RSD, or reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, in Ashley’s right arm, McFadden said.

The disease causes Ashley’s brain to misfire signals, telling her body that there is a severe injury in her arm when there isn’t, her mother explained.

“Her nervous system just went haywire because her arm had been injured really badly,” McFadden said.

The slightest touch, even a strand of hair on her arm or an ant crawling up her sleeve, causes her extreme pain.

Ashley, who should be experiencing her freshman year at Williamstown High School, has been at home for two years, learning through daily tutor sessions.

Aside from physical therapy to help her regain mobility in the arm, doctors haven’t been able to help ease the pain, McFadden said.

Through a support group for parents of children with RSD, Jackie McFadden found out about the doctor in Boston who may be able to treat her daughter.

“We have insurance, but hospital bills and co-pays have killed us,” said Jackie McFadden, who abandoned her housekeeping business to care for her daughter.

Tickets to the benefit are $25, and donations are also accepted. For more information call (856) 803-9995.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


$100K raised to help girl with disease

$100K raised to help girl with disease

NEW HANOVER — In less than one month, the Boyertown community has rallied support and raised more than $100,000 to help Lindsay Spengler get her life back.

After learning that the 22-year-old Boyertown graduate, who suffers from two debilitating diseases that have left her bedridden for the past four years, desperately needed funding to receive an experimental treatment overseas, the community responded with an outpouring of love and generosity.

“I just can’t keep on top of it all,” Joan Johnston, family friend of the Spenglers, said of the letters, e-mails and donations she’s been collecting for the family.

“We’re up to $101,000” in donations, Johnston said enthusiastically. “Which is enough to get her over there and get her into the whole treatment.”

Spengler, who was once an avid athlete and well-rounded student, suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and porphyria, which have left her confined to a bed. The two diseases make her skin feel like it’s on fire and make her life next to unbearable.

While all the treatments Lindsay has tried so far to help rid her body of the horrible diseases have not worked or have helped to ease her symptoms only slightly, one option still gives hope to the Spengler family. The treatment is experimental, at cost to the family, and is only available in Germany, which means her family must raise funds for travel expenses, including an air ambulance to transport Lindsay. In total, Lindsay’s family anticipates the cost of her treatment to be about $170,000.

With the continued support from the community, the Spenglers are nearing their goal.

“It’s been an amazing lesson for me,” Sharon Spengler, Lindsay’s mother said of the community’s generosity. “It just seems like when you need to do something so huge, if everyone does just a little piece, you can do so much.”

“I know they’ve given sacrificially, and yet all those little things count,” Spengler said.

Spengler said the local community, including the Boyertown Area School District, local media and members of the community, have been essential to raising the critical funds to help Lindsay.

“These people, we could have never have done this on our own,” Spengler said.

Spengler said word of Lindsay and her bravery, living each day in pain but still able to hold on to the hope that she will be able to regain her life, has reached people all over the nation. She has received letters and donations from Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, Wisconsin among other states.

“It really goes beyond words, just heartfelt feelings,” Sharon Spengler said. “You can’t put them into words.”

“It just means the world to us because Lindsay just so desperately needs to get to Germany,” Spengler said. “The pain is just wearing on her.”

If more than enough money is raised to send Lindsay to Germany and help pay for her treatment, any surplus donations will be put into a Sharing Hope trust to benefit other RSD patients who may need the help, according to Lindsay’s Web site,

Johnston said the family is hoping arrangements for treatment and transportation can be made to send Lindsay within the month, and Johnston thanked the generous people who have contributed to making Lindsay’s dream of a fresh start at a normal adult life a reality.

“The graciousness in this community is just overwhelming to me,” Johnston said. She added that she has been particularly touched by the prayers and notes she has received from strangers, that accompany donations.

“(Some people) don’t know her but their heart is there for her,” Johnston said. “If nothing else, all the prayers will get her over there and back.”

Johnston called Lindsay’s story “a tremendous community story” because it is the community that has banded together to make a difference in Lindsay’s life.

“It’s is just so encouraging that a community can stand behind this, and that’s what they’ve done,” Johnston said.

“How do you ever repay the people who have done so much?” Spengler said. “There’s just so many people — the high schools and the elementary schools — and they’re so excited to do it. It’s just so cool to see the goodness in people. They’ve given us all hope that life may be different. All these people are giving Lindsay hope.”

Although much progress has been made through the generous spirit of the community, about $70,000 in funds are still needed to help send Lindsay Spengler to Germany for the life-changing treatment. To make an online donation, or for more information about Lindsay Spengler, RSD and porphyria, visit

Donations may also be made by sending a check made out to “RSD” to the National Penn Bank, 2900 N. Charlotte St., Gilbertsville, PA 19525.

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


‘It shoved my feet through the floorboard’

Roberta Hill uses the remote to stimulate her implanted spinal cord stimulator to kill the pain in her back and legs. She was in a traffic accident that broke both her legs and has had pain since the wreck. Dr. Robert Wilson, a pain medicine specialist at Piedmont Interventional Pain Care, implanted the device to help her cope with the pain. photo by Wayne Hinshaw, Salisbury Post

‘It shoved my feet through the floorboard’

By Rose Post

Salisbury Post

Like most years, Roberta Hill had her family’s Thanksgiving all planned a couple of days before the holiday in 2002.

“But it didn’t happen,” she’ll tell you quickly, because a big tractor-trailer loaded with bricks, “ran over my little white Volkswagen Jetta.”

She was on her way home from East Rowan High School, where she teaches exceptional students, “and the truck hit me from behind. I’m lucky to be alive. It was a regular full-size tractor-trailer.

“The driver stopped after he hit me. He wasn’t paying any attention, and he hit me going 50 miles an hour in a 45-mile zone.

“A car had pulled out in front of me, and it didn’t pay me to stop,” she says and then she laughs and explains. “I’m just now at the point that I can laugh about it.”

And she doesn’t do that often — for good reason.

“I have to wear a brace on my left foot all the time. I have nerve damage from the waist down and such severe pain in my lower back and leg that just standing or walking became increasingly hard.

“It shoved my feet through the floorboard of my car.

“It pushed the brake and the clutch through the floor board of the car and pushed my feet through the floor as well, and that’s when it broke my feet in half and caused the damage. My feet were laying flat in the car, and I was lying down and looking up at the bottom of the truck.

“All I could worry about was that I had my brother in the car. The truck hit so hard it ripped his seat out of the floor and knocked his tennis shoes off his feet. He’s all right, thank God.

“But I still have a lot of problems. Pain is a big problem. And I have arthritis bad now.

“It knocked me out.”

Not once. Many times.

“The paramedics woke me up but I kept going in and out. I knew the truck hit me, but I didn’t know how bad it was. They had to cut the back door and the front door off the car to get me out.

“All this time I was in pain and scared. My brother got out of the car, and they took both of us to the hospital. He had a chip off his spine, but it’s not giving him much trouble.

“I went to doctors in Salisbury, and they did all they could. They diagnosed me with RSD, which is Reflexive Sympathic Disorder.

“It hurts to have anything touch my feet and legs, even air. My feet turn sideways and do their own thing, and it’s going to be that way from now on. It makes it harder to walk.

“If the weather gets bad, it’s even worse.

“When it first happened I was out six weeks,” she says, but then she went back to her teaching at East Rowan, “and it’s very hard to stay on your feet.”

As with most chronic pain sufferers, Roberta says the constant pain affects everything she does.

“It makes you depressed. It hurts to walk. It hurts not to walk, and you’re afraid to do anything. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Then she found a pain specialist in Charlotte, “and he put the first stimulator on me. The stimulator goes in next to your spine and makes your legs vibrate. It’s like your legs are asleep all the time, and then when they do go to sleep, it’s bad. It interrupts the pain sensors from your legs to your brain.”

But during the course of her care, the doctor moved, so she had to find another doctor, and that led her to Dr. Robert Wilson, a pain medicine specialist from Piedmont Interventional Pain Care in Salisbury. He’s board certified in both anesthesia and pain medicine, and Roberta was impressed in the way he really listened to her and took her individual needs into account.

“Dr. Wilson put in a new stimulator Sept. 16, and it has better coverage. I have pain coverage from the waist down. I feel it, but it makes it tolerable, and that’s why I love Dr. Wilson. Without him I wouldn’t be walking at all.

“I see him every three months faithfully and in between if I need him. He’s really been good to me.”

First, he put her on bed rest for 10 weeks. And her husband, Virgil, and her 22-year-old son, Shawn, took over the household chores.

“My substitute teacher, Miss Poole, called every day, and my kids called me every day, and I went back to work right before Christmas.”

But she had another kind of pain, too. The company that owned the truck “said I wasn’t paying any attention, and I never heard an ‘I’m sorry’ or anything. For a while I was in therapy for anger management, I was so angry. That truck driver walks around, and I have problems. I still have issues with that.

“I refused to drive for a long time. My son is in college, and he shouldn’t have to haul me around. I’m driving now, but there are times I still won’t drive. I don’t drive on the interstate unless I have to or on Highway 52 in Rockwell. When I get in a lot of traffic, I get nervous.”

And, of course, she had to buy a new car.

That truck driver’s company, Cozart Lumber Co., had to pay for it.

“It didn’t cost that driver anything.”

But it’s been “really expensive for me — $100,000. We paid at least that in medical bills.

“And ongoing expenses are very high.” There’s a cap on the Hills’ insurance plan and the plan won’t cover anything over that amount. “After a doctor deemed it a permanent injury about four years ago, they have to settle it.”

She’s not satisfied with what she got.

“I’m still making car payments,” she says.

But she doesn’t see any lawsuits in the future.

There are too many connections involved.

“This is just a small area, and everybody knows everybody. My husband works with Cozart. And they paid what the insurance would cover and that’s it. They were required to do that by law.

“It isn’t in the best interest to have a lawsuit. We took what the insurance would pay, and that was it.

“And most days,” she says, “I feel all right now. But when it’s raining, I can feel it, and sometimes I have to go back to using my cane.”

Contact Rose Post at 704-797-4251 or

Click Here For The Original Article Online.


17-year-old Erikka Elsbury is a prisoner in her own body and under constant torture.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

17-year-old Erikka Elsbury is a prisoner in her own body and under constant torture.

She describes, “The burning pain is like dousing your arm in gasoline and lighting it on fire.”

She has a condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RSD. It’s also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

RSD happens when there’s an injury, even minor, and the pain message misfires. It’s caused by an abnormal nervous system response, although no one knows why it happens.

Erikka sprained her wrist when she was twelve. Even though her wrist healed, the pain continued and then eventually spread to other parts of her body.

She can’t tolerate simple things, like the wind, a soft touch or baggy clothes. “Even the sheets on my bed hurt so I sleep with the sheet over half my body because it hurts too much to cover my other limbs.”

Erikka is a patient at the Cleveland Clinic’s new Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center. She’ll spend a week there as an in-patient learning ways to deal with her discomfort. Then she’ll come back everyday for another week. The condition has already caused her to miss many days of school. The program’s goal is to get her functioning and back in school.

She’s connected to an IV device that injects pain medication directly into her spine. However, her future treatments will be much different. “The cure is really getting back to daily activities again and continuing those daily activities to include exercise.” Judy Hall, RN said.

Right now Erikka can’t even open her hand because the pain is so intense. By the end of her stay, she’ll be doing a half hour of aerobics.

To learn more about RSD click on the links. To watch Monica’s story click on video.

((((( Click Here To Play Video of This Story )))))

Click here to see the original article online.




Saturday February 10, 2007

The National RSD Awareness Ribbon was on the winning ARCA race car today down in Daytona!

It was on the LUCAS OIL CHEVROLET, sponosored by Tom Bogner and owned by Billy Gerhart, driven by Bobby Gerhart!

Bobby led most of the race and crossed the finish line for his FIFTH Daytona win and a record three in a row!

The National RSD Awareness Ribbon, all red and orange flames, have been sent all over the country. We have them in our Awareness Products store. Thousands are on cars and trucks rolling on America’s highways as we speak, thousands are on t-shirts and sweatshirts being worn all over the country, and now we are showing up on the racing circuit!

Here is the National RSD Awareness Ribbon that was displayed on the car!

Bobby Gerhart had won four races down at Daytona and two in a row! He had the pole for today’s race until the last minute when a NASCAR driver snuck up and grabbed it from him so he started in second place but didn’t stay there for very long. Bobby has had the Pole for this race the last four previous years.

You can check out the story on Bobby’s record FIFTH win down in Daytona by going to the following page;

Bobby will be driving the black Number 5 Lucas Oil Chevy all year long! Watch for him!

We hope to have some pictures of his car showing the RSD Awareness ribbon on our website by next week. Hopefully it will be with Bobby in the Winner’s Circle! Great for Bobby and Great for RSD Awareness!

Many thanks to Tom Bogner at Lucas Oil the cars sponsor and to Billy Gerhart the cars owner, for helping to make this happen.

This is just one more step in National RSD Awareness!

More race cars to come in the future as we will be working on getting other car owners involved as well as other racing ciruits, inclduing NASCAR, involved; talks are already underway.

Thanks to the following people for their help in this project;

Tammy and Paul Skibo
Marilyn and Brandon Heisler

Peace, Keith Orsini

American RSDHope Organization