After almost losing his right arm in an accident 14 years ago a Montrose man is now battling once again to save the same arm. But now he's doing it alone after his health insurance dropped him after the first accident.
For the last couple of weeks Mike Niksch has spent most of his days in the hospital. Niksch says, "I woke up one morning and actually had what I thought was a pulled muscle or torn bicep." But later that day Niksch couldn't even bend his arm, so he went to the emergency room.
After running numerous tests doctors discovered it was MRSA. Niksch says, "It's not like a typical infection where it just gives up. It's pretty tough stuff I guess."
The Mayo Clinic classifies MRSA as a staph infection that resists almost all antibiotics and can be fatal. Doctors scheduled an immediate surgery.
Once surgeons had opened Niksch arm they found the infection had penetrated his bone. It was also surrounding hardware doctors had attached to his arm 14 years ago after a large whirlwind lifted him off the ground.
Niksch says, "Picked me up and threw me over a telephone pole and through the side of a garage." That put Niksch in a wheelchair for a year and racked up huge medical bills. "I accrued well over a million dollars in bills that the insurance company didn't pay for anyways," he says.
That's one reason Niksch doesn't have insurance now. Niksch says his month insurance cost would have been, "well over a thousand dollars a month for just basic coverage."
While Niksch fights to keep MRSA from eating his arm his girlfriend, Matti Guseman has been trying to find him some sort of financial help.
"We tried to qualify for emergency Medicaid and he's not eligible because he's a U.S. citizen." Guseman finally got Niksch qualified for the Indigent Care Program, but admits the whole situation has been tough to bear. "I'm usually able to be really strong here for him but when I go home I just kinda lose it. Yah it's difficult," says Guseman.
Niksch knows there's a possibility he could lose his arm. He says, "If it happens it happens its not going to break me." But either way he hopes things will change. "People need to be able to afford to take care of themselves and that's what I would like to see happen," says Niksch.
The couple has asked everyone for their prayers, and anyone who wants to help can make a donation at the San Juan Mountain Credit Union under account number 68576.