Medicaid Drops Insurance for Burn-Victim, Amputee Jessica Crumpton

Asks Community for Medical Help to Start Rehab


By Heather VacLav

Nearly one year ago, a Montgomery woman was burned so badly her body shut down, forcing doctors to amputate both of her legs and her forearm. 29-year old Jessica Crumpton wants to walk again, but is unable to because she no longer has insurance. Alabama's Medicaid stopped paying her medical bills two months ago.

"I havent been able to get an arm, I havent been able to go to rehab, I dont have a doctor, I cant get medicine," Crumpton explained in tears.

Medicaid told Crumpton the man responsible for her wounds, her uncle who dumped boiling collard greens on her last January, is also responsible to pay her bills. The problem is, he is in jail, serving time for hurting his niece.

Crumpton recalls the initial shock of having her legs amputated. She says she woke up Valentine's Day from a two-month coma and her legs "were just gone". Many of us complain about having a bad day at work or having to wait to long in the grocery line, but once most people meet Jessica Crumpton, all of their own problems seem obsolete.

Despite having her life turned upside down, she is optimistic beyond belief. Joking and smiling with a uplifting spirit, she is trying to make the best out of her life. Which is why local churches and organizations want to get Crumpton the rehab she deserves

"The vision of her [prosthetic] legs sitting in the closet [unused], is horrible, it's horrible... words can't describe it, she's just got to get them on and get on with her life," Barbara Anderson said wiping away tears running down the side of her face inside the library of Saint Bede the Venerable Catholic Church in Montgomery.

Anderson works in Pastoral Outreach for the church and has been fundraising to help Jessica Crumpton and her family since the accident happened. Anderson says in her 12 years of outreach, she's never been so saddened by a case, and is appalled with Medicaid's decision to reverse their committment to pay Crumpton's medical bills.

"I just cant even imagine, I mean its people making this decision, its not a computer, its people," Anderson said. "I don't know, I cant figure it out. It's beyond me, it's just beyond me," she said crying, "It's just got to be reversed."

At the same time Crumpton was to start rehab with two custom-made prosthetic legs, her social security started kicked in.

"My social security started and so that was $1,031 for a month, and they said I made too much to have Medicaid," Crumpton explained.

However, Crumpton's social security is barely enough to cover monthly bills, let alone the $1.6 million dollars she owes in medical expenses.

"I cant open pill bottles, I need rehab so I can be independent," Crumpton said. The young mother of three says her husband, Justin, had to quit his job to take care of her and the children, a role she tackled before the accident.

"The main thing Jessica needs in order to go on with life, in order for her life to be productive, is the rehabilitation," Anderson said.

But without Medicaid, Crumpton has no way to see a doctor, receive medication or start rehab without paying out of pocket, something she can not afford.

"I just hope somebody can help me, teach me the basics and show me what I need to do and I'll do it," Crumpton said with an eager ambitious smile. "I won't waste anybody's time, I think I can do it. I just need somebody to help me learn how."

Crumpton's tenacity to move forward is amazing, considering she has one working limb, burns all over her body, and more than a million dollars in debt to hospitals for her surgeries and care.

Until Medicaid re-reviews Jessica Crumpton's case, she can't learn to walk, or even use the bathroom on her own. She has prosthetic legs, but just needs rehab to learn how to use them, she also needs a prosthetic arm.

She and her supporters hope there are generous doctors and technicians out there that can step up and donate their services to move her life forward in the direction it should have been pointed in months ago.

If you know of anyone in the medical community who can help Jessica Crumpton, please contact Barbara Anderson at St. Bede's Catholic Church, her number is 334-221-6860.