It was almost one year ago – December 2, 2015 – when 14 people were killed at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino California, the result of a mass shooting and a failed bombing assault. The murderers were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a terrorist couple living below the radar of law enforcement in the city of Redlands. The Islamic jihadists chose a particularly repugnant event to carry out their jihad – a health department Christmas party for 80 coworkers of Farook.
But what many of us forget is that 22 other innocent citizens were seriously injured, and now, some of them are reporting that the Workers Compensation system is blocking them from receiving much needed follow-up healthcare.
One of the survivors, for example, is Julie Swann Paez. This poor woman – a professional health inspector – was shot twice during the attack, and has had part of her pelvis surgically removed. She told CBS News that she found herself stranded in the hospital when San Bernardino County workers compensation division delayed approvals for her discharge medications. She has also, she says, been forced to get by with less than the full complement of physical therapy .
Osama Megalla is the husband of another survivor, Hanan Megalla, who was shot four times. He says the workers’ compensation treatment denials reached the point where he has written letters of complaint to county CEO Greg Devereaux, and even Governor Jerry Brown. He is begging for authorities to intervene, saying, “The utilization review doctors are hired to reject the claims for the poor injured workers.”
He says the bureaucracy is breaking his wife’s spirit. “She’s always scared that she may not get her next prescription approval. She feels hopeless.”
San Bernardino County reports they are not denying medical treatment to survivors. A spokes woman says what is happening is not a financial issue, but the county must follow state utilization protocols.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss survivors’ complaints in their next Meeting on Monday.