Sean Jones, an American English teacher in Goyang who was hospitalized with a severe autoimmune disease in May, has returned to the United States thanks to fund-raising efforts to pay his hospital bill.
Jones had developed encephalitis NMDA, a rare brain disease, and was undergoing treatment in Korea. However, when the hospital stopped treatment, citing cost, his family sought to transfer him to the U.S.
But the hospital would not allow Jones to leave until his $50,000 medical bill was paid.
|Sean Jones, pictured before his illness|
“It was such a relief when I got off the plane and I was home,” said LaTanya Dodd, Jones’ mother. “And I knew that as soon as we got home and got him to a hospital that things would be better.
“He was going downhill there. It was hot, he was in a room with five people, he was wheezing, half the time he was not getting the right medication. … I was exhausted, I couldn’t keep up with it.”
The bill was finally settled through fund-raising in the United States, Korea and online, and Dodd said that the hospital had become more accommodating after most of the bill had been settled, finding some extra discounts and paying for Jones’ transfer to the airport.
Dodd said that Jones’ condition has noticeably improved since being transferred home. He became able to walk short distances, she explained, and his problems with appetite and eating had gone completely.
“It was amazing to me, because he had two good nights’ rest in the hospital and after the second day it was like he was a whole different person,” Dodd said.
A transfer to a research hospital in Indianapolis had been arranged for Sept. 4 but was canceled as payment was not made in time. A second flight was arranged five days later to Tulsa in his home state of Oklahoma. However, Dodd said that the Tulsa hospital was unable to provide specialist care for the type of encephalitis Jones has.
She said doctors were exploring options for treating his immediate problems with a plan to transfer him to outpatient care.
In the longer term he will receive specialist treatment at another hospital.
By Paul Kerry (firstname.lastname@example.org)