To our religious, civic, and political leaders, and to our local and national media!!! Are we WAITING on this young boy to DIE and THEN do a feature on "What we could have done to prevent his death?" President Obama, did we just fight for healthcare reform only to watch it NOT work to save the life of young Rocky Clark? And right here at home in Chicago and Illinois, WHERE is our collective leadership as Rocky Clark prepares to DIE or LIVE !!! If he dies, PLEASE DO NOT show up at his funeral, if you did not do all you could within your power to try and keep Rocky ALIVE !! (Activist, Mark S. Allen)
To join our coalition for Rocky, please visit SaveRockyClark.com
I woke up thinking about a person I met just two weeks ago. I
was thinking about this man because he is going to die unless we find a
way to help him. He is paralyzed from the neck down, has one working
lung and that lung has enough blood clots in it to kill him.
Meet Rasul "Rocky" Clark, a 27-year old man living in Illinois. Rocky was once a promising young high school athlete at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Il.
His future came to a halt when he took a bad hit on the football field
that left him with the inability to ever use his arms or legs again. As
you can probably imagine, the earth-shattering transition from being a
healthy 16-year old boy to becoming a quadriplegic is beyond daunting,
and many of us could never recover from this kind of devastation.
Everyone in the Blue Island community felt the pain of the young
boy who'd suddenly lost his ability to stand up, write, run, jump or
even feed himself. Being confined to a bed and only being able to move
his head, Rocky received one visit after another from school
administrators in Blue Island, all promising Rocky and his family that
they'd do anything they could to make his life a little better. Their
most comforting promise to Rocky was that the school district had
premium health insurance, and that the young man would be taken care of
for the rest of his life.
The sneaky little secret within the fine print of the promises being made to Rocky is that the school's insurer, Health Special Risk, Inc.
only expected Rocky to live a few more years. The $5 million cap on
Rocky's policy was neither communicated to his family nor was it enough
to take care of him for more than just a few years.
Being a fighter and an optimist, Rocky lived longer than the
doctors expected. He also outlived the cap on his insurance policy.
When he hit the $5 million limit on his insurance, Health Special Risk
sent the Clark family an incredibly short letter stating that his
coverage had come to an end and that they would no longer pay for
Rocky's medical care. In other words, Rocky had been punished for
living too long, for his insurer seemed to feel that he'd missed his
statistically-scheduled appointment with the Grim Reaper.
Since that time, Rocky's family has gone deep into debt trying to
find ways to take care of the boy who refused to die. I spoke with a
friend of the family (Darryl Luckett), who made it clear that Rocky is a
brave solider who has tried to make the most out of his situation. His
mother is also a fighter, giving nearly all of her time and money to
take care of the little boy she loves so much. When I spoke to Rocky's
mom, all she could say is, "Dr. Watkins, I'm tired." People have sent
donations to the family, but they are a drop in the bucket when compared
to $100,000 dollar surgical procedures and the critical needs of a man
with such a significant disability.
The Blue Island School District and Eisenhower High School appear
to have dropped the ball completely, not having an ounce of concern for
the former student whom they have the resources to keep alive. It
seems as though Rocky's disability lasted far longer than the compassion
of school administrators, and they don't feel the least responsible for
helping Rocky keep his insurance coverage. So, the message is that any
child who gets seriously injured on their football field may be doomed
to suffer a lonely and painful death.
In building my coalition to help Rocky Clark,
I began to wonder what insurance companies like Health Special Risk and
school districts like the one in Blue Island should do when one of
their own finds himself knocking on death's door. Do we live in a
society where large organizations should not be required to care about a
man like Clark, who's now suffering in the hospital with just one lung
full of blood clots? Should they be concerned that Rocky is almost
certain to die without his health insurance? Perhaps it's time to
rethink our commitment to capitalism as it pertains to the preservation
of human life. In far too many instances, big corporations find death
to be far more profitable than life.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.