BAKERSFIELD, CA - A San Francisco Giants fan, badly beaten at a Dodgers game two years ago, is home after spending more than a year in rehabilitation in Bakersfield.
Bryan Stow suffered brain damage, losing his ability to walk, talk and write. As he was regaining some of those skills in therapy at the Centre for Neuro Skills in Bakersfield, his insurance stopped coverage of the rehabilitation.
His family said Bryan could have benefited greatly with more therapy. But now, they are caring for him at their home in Santa Cruz and have noticed the progress he made here, slipping.
Dr. Mark Ashley, C.E.O. of the Centre for Neuro Skills, said Stow was making great progress.
"He wasn't able to talk, he wasn't able to walk, he was very involved. And, I'm pleased to say he's made a lot of change," said Dr. Ashley.
According to a video posted on the Stow's family website, www.support4bryanstow.com, Stow stayed at the Bakersfield center from March 2012 to April of this year.
In a statement, the family says, "Even though it was four hours away, we felt it was the best fit for Bryan."
Dr. Ashley says in that time he learned more motor skills, to speak and walk with help. But, the family reports the therapy ended when insurance stopped paying for it and Bryan's regressed, stating, "Due to a huge cut in therapy coverage, Bryan has physically experienced a big setback."
"You would never see a woman with breast cancer treated this way. You would never say to the woman with breast cancer, 'let your husband take care of your treatments'," said Dr. Ashley.
Dr. Ashley says rehabilitation costs $45,000 to $60,000 a month. About 60 percent of people referred to CNS don't get clearance from their health insurance. And, if they do, most policies only cover 30 to 90 days. He believes Bryan received more treatment time thanks to his notoriety. And, if given more time, Stow would have kept improving.
"It's tremendously unethical, in my estimation, that we would knowingly withhold effective treatment from people for money," said Dr. Ashley.
The Stow family has hired nurses for 24-hour care. But, Dr. Ashley says since Stow returned home, insurance will never again pay for the intense rehab he was getting.
Stow has filed a lawsuit against the Dodgers and, then owner, Frank McCourt.