Montrose man fighting MRSA to save his arm

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

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.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by T Location: Indy on Feb 3, 2012 at 03:41 PM
    Who the heck's Matti?!?!??!?!?!?!?!
  • by Anonymous on Oct 16, 2009 at 06:14 AM
    It is weaseling. You pay for health insurance, they are supposed to provide as the policy you bought states. Not try to void it, fight payment and generally breach the contract. They can make the bet on your ability to stay healthy, but the policies are to cover you in the event you do not, so if you do not, they loose, time to pay up. It has nothing to do with living right or choosing to be sick, wow, what ignorant comments. I'd suggest you do a little research into how often these companies don't hold up their end of the contract, and the methods they use, but I wouldn't want any knowledge to shed light on the darkness you seem to be in.
  • by Beth Ann Location: Lowell, Indiana on Oct 15, 2009 at 07:42 PM
    you people disgust me. Michael is my brother , he is fighting for his arm and his life. My brother has been a fighter for his whole life, and nothing will break him down. (Richard) do you have to be so blunt and rude , be in his shoes.
  • by Glenn Location: GJ on Oct 14, 2009 at 11:11 PM
    Paul, you call it weaseling, I call it good business. Insurance isn't a big money pit that you and your diseased friends can swim around in. It's a business that bets on your ability to stay healthy and going in, you know that there's a risk that they can say no. And if they say no, suck it up, buttercup. If you can't live right and choose to be sick all the time, then you don't have the right to suck the blood from an American Company.
  • by Paul Location: Montrose on Oct 13, 2009 at 09:50 PM
    Richard and Glen, pointing out someone is ignorant is not demonizing them. And in the case of this story you both are ignorant. Do a little research on how insurance companies weasel their way out of paying almost every big bill they get. Doesn't matter if someones been paying all their lives. But I'm sure you hard workers are sitting fat and pretty and if that happened to you, you could just write a check for a couple million and continue on as if it was small change. Yeah, that must be the case when one can be 'off to work' so late in the day and home so early. As for your assumption as to the political leanings of others, yet again you are proving the old saying about assumptions. Government has a lovely history of running about everything they run into the ground. It would be no different with health care. I'd suggest you quit listening to the talking heads on the radio and take a look around society and see what's going on.
  • by Glenn Location: gj on Oct 13, 2009 at 08:13 PM
    I think we're on the same page here Richard, I'm just saying what a lot of people are thinking but not saying. This guy can't pay his hospital bills - too bad, so sad. I can't see any reason that I should have to suffer because he chose to go out and get some infection. Wash your hands much? It's not my problem and I shouldn't have to pay for his mistakes. Besides, the Lord helps those who help themselves and I don't see this guy do anything about his situation than boo-hoo about his arm.
  • by Richard Location: Montrose on Oct 13, 2009 at 02:54 PM
    Oh Glenn, for a moment I thought you and I were kindred spirits but I'm afraid you have gone way off the reservation on this one. Compairing the value of this man's life to an insurance company's portfolio is crass at best. And, despite Jen's semi-literate posting, I have never said the guy didn't have a job nor did I infer that he has never paid taxes, although the latter could be brought up for debate depending on his annual income. My point is that he should not be allowed to mooch off of the system. Why can't the hospital bill him in full for their services? His life is surely worth whatever the cost would be. I simply take issue with the "indigent" situation as that affects me, my family, and anyone else who has ever been billed $80 for a bandaid in a hospital. I guess I am an evil person for mentioning such a thing. Bad conservative, BAD! Viva Obama.
  • by Glenn Location: GJ on Oct 13, 2009 at 11:07 AM
    Demonize me all you want to - but the insurance company employs tens of thousands of people and profits even more through their investment portfolios. What is this guy's life compared to all the good that comes from a financially healthy company? This guy is a leech on the system.
  • by Jen Location: Superior, WI on Oct 13, 2009 at 09:29 AM
    Geeze ~ I guess I must have missed the part of the story that said Mike has no job and has never contributed as a tax paying citizen. Thanks for bringing that to all of our attention Richard. Without people like you, who seem to know it all the rest of us clueless people would be in the dark. Thanks for shedding light on the background of Mike for us. He is so lucky to have people like you fighting for him and wishing him well. Mike and Matti ~ hang in there, lots of people are praying for your healthy recovery.
  • by Richard Location: Montrose on Oct 13, 2009 at 07:48 AM
    For Paul and Jim, I hope you both donated a lot of money. It is time to take my ignorant, -ism laden self off to work so that I can continue to feed and support those who think I owe them something simply because they are a "fellow American." I am sure "the greater good" will appreciate my efforts. This egalitarian vibe is making me all warm and fuzzy. Be strong, comrades!
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