Berkeley: After Near Death, EMT Faces Loss Of Insurance, A $59K Bill

Source: Asbury Park Press

Megan Franzoso rose from her chair and walked gingerly across the living room of her parents’ home.

This is progress for someone who spent two weeks on life support.

“It’s been a long road, but it’s going well,” the 28-year-old said, her speech halting but audible. “I can brush my hair.”

In September, the Berkeley emergency medical technician suffered a severe allergic reaction to medication she was taking for a mild heart condition. She went into cardiac arrest and endured grand mal seizure. The resulting hypoxia caused some brain damage.

At one point, the prognosis was so dire that the whole family gathered at her hospital bedside. But Franzoso is a fighter. Now she’s relearning how to live. The little triumphs are starting to add up: She can feed herself and get changed, even though her arms don’t have full range of motion.

“She went from staring off into dead space to where I can talk and joke with her now,” younger sister Michele Franzoso said. “It’s been amazing. I don’t know if I could do what she’s doing.”

A big hurdle lies ahead: Megan’s job-based health insurance policy terminates Feb. 28. The rest of her rehabilitation — at least a year’s worth, maybe two — and her medications will cost upwards of $1,000 per month. Her parents could also be stuck with a $59,000 bill for an emergency helicopter transport from Community Medical Center in Tom’s River to the Temple University Cardiology unit in Philadelphia — which was rejected by the insurance company.

Though Franzoso’s health insurance was covered by Berkeley, she did not have long-term disability insurance. Fellow township employees donated enough sick time to get her through February, but she can’t return to work, so she will switch to a COBRA policy. Her medical expenses will rise.

Until further notice, Megan will continue her thrice-weekly, three-hour rehab sessions at Bancroft NeuroRehab in Brick. Her ultimate goal: return to work as a first responder. “I love helping people,” she says.

Donations to Megan’s recovery fundraiser may be made at her page, or in person at any TD Bank (ask for the Megan Franzoso Fund).

Email Regional Director of Engagement Alesha Williams Boyd at a williams @ with “Helping Hands” in the subject line to help the Asbury Park Press connect those whose needs can be verified through a Shore area nonprofit.

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