Susan Bright has been her son Adam’s caregiver and champion for all his 22 years. When Adam was 16, these roles took on new meaning. Driving one day on a rain slick road, he skidded, overcorrected, and rolled his SUV six times. In an instant, Adam’s and Susan’s lives were changed forever. Susan’s response to that challenge and tragedy has been extraordinary and inspiring.
Adam is now quadriplegic and relies on a feeding tube and many other medical devices. His mother knows each device inside and out—how to clean them, how to maintain them, and even how to fix them. And although Adam cannot speak, she is attuned to his every need, as only a devoted mom can be. She knows when he wants the T.V. channel switched, or when his khakis aren’t fitting quite right. A bull-rider before his accident, Adam was the class clown, and Susan praises his tenacity and wit. Most importantly, she knows that being loved is what keeps him going.
Before Adam’s accident, Susan had a demanding job in procurement at a Greenevillle manufacturing company. She tried to pay for Adam’s full time nurses for as long as she could after he was injured. Unfortunately, his medical needs proved too great, and she had to quit work to devote herself fully to his needs.
With health insurance no longer available through an employer, Medicaid was there as a lifeline for Adam, as it is for most children and young adults with such severe disabilities. Tennessee’s Medicaid program, TennCare, helps provide the professional nursing and medical care that he constantly needs.
Meeting Adam’s needs means that Susan’s workdays last eighteen hours – or longer. While Medicaid is a godsend, Susan has sometimes been overwhelmed trying to balance caring for Adam while battling insurance company red tape. After turning 21, Adam faced a life-threatening cut to his nursing hours due to insurance coverage rules. Susan reached out to Tennessee Justice Center for help. TJC and Susan have worked successfully as a team to maintain his care.
Congress has just given Susan a new worry by tacking massive Medicaid cuts onto the bill that will repeal Obamacare. She worries what will happen to Adam and the children of other mothers who face similar challenges.
Adam’s doctors praise Susan for her devotion and her success in maintaining Adam so well. TJC is honored to work with Susan on Adam’s behalf and to recognize Susan for her tireless efforts to ensure her son’s health care needs are met.