Survivor: Don't Trust Health Insurance Companies

Former Paraplegic and Mother Chronicle Decade-Long Fight to Get Proper Care

FAYETTEVILLE, GA--(Marketwire - February 18, 2010) - The health insurance lobby recently released a report directly attacking the healthcare reform proposals moving through Congress. The PricewaterhouseCoopers report claimed that reforming healthcare would result in higher insurance premiums and raise consumer healthcare costs.

Linda McCoy has a word in mind to describe that report, but it's not printable.

"The insurance industry cannot be trusted," said McCoy, mother of Darien Smith, a partially-recovered paraplegic who was paralyzed from the mouth down after a series of accidents working in a warehouse. Darien's story of recovery spans more than ten years, and is chronicled in the book McCoy and Smith co-authored, I Heard A Voice Say "Never Throw In The Towel!"

"From the start, the insurance companies did everything they could to prevent paying Darien's medical expenses," she said. "First, the doctors tried to get me to sign a Do Not Resuscitate contract -- which I would not sign. Then, the insurance companies kept putting us off. Attorneys wouldn't take my case, because the doctors told them Darien was going to die. Everyone was trying to railroad him into the grave so they could save money."

After 8 years, she finally found an attorney who would take their case, and they sued USA Inc., National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, GAB Robins, North America, Inc. and Sedgwick CMS, Inc. for all the hassles. Just before trial, all three companies settled with McCoy, promising to provide for Darien's needs for the rest of his life. Darien cannot breathe or walk under his own power, but can move and speak again, something doctors never thought would happen.

"Now marks a new chapter in our lives," McCoy said. "No matter how people feel about healthcare reform, they should be adamant about one thing -- the insurance companies must be held accountable for the life and death decisions they make with their balance sheets."

About Linda McCoy and Darien Smith

Linda McCoy is a proud mother of two, a cosmetologist and now she is also a speaker who talks to people about her battle with insurance companies. Darien Smith is a college student who is working on taking his first steps since his accident more than 12 years ago. Both he and his mom know he'll take those steps someday.

Contact Information:

Rachel Friedman