Woman once in coma fighting for program she says saved her life

Woman once in coma fighting for program she says saved her life

MOUNT WASHINGTON, Ky. (WAVE) - A Mount Washington woman is making an amazing recovery four years after a drunk driver slammed into her and left her in a coma.

However, just after the crash, Chelsea Hogue couldn’t hold her head up, walk, eat or talk.

“She had to basically be a newborn baby all over again,” Sandy Patton, Hogue’s mother, said.

When the crash happened, Hogue was studying nursing at the University of Louisville. The man accused of driving drunk and hitting her is an undocumented immigrant, who’s been on the run since February 2016.​

Now, Hogue is walking and has her voice back, crediting care she was able to receive due to a Medicaid brain injury waiver for her recovery. According to the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services, the Acquired Brain Injury Branch, which Hogue is served through, “operates two waivers that provide Medicaid-paid services to adults with an acquired brain injury. These services give participants the support they need to live in the community.”

“The miracle started whenever I started the waiver,” Hogue said. ​

Her progress continued when she achieved her goals to work and drive again.​

Parts of the brain injury waiver program from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services are at risk of seeing cuts in state funding come next summer.
Parts of the brain injury waiver program from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services are at risk of seeing cuts in state funding come next summer. (Source: State of Kentucky)

“It’s a 2017 Ford Fusion,” Hogue, who now works at Cracker Barrel, said of her new car. “Black. It’s beautiful.”

Patton said parts of the brain injury waiver program, which she credits with helping her daughter regain her life, are at risk of seeing cuts in state funding next summer. ​

“We’re just worried, you know, that if they do make these cuts that future people won’t have what she had,” Patton said.

She said that means there may be fewer opportunities for people in Chelsea’s situation to get speech therapy, adult day training, and case management.

“It’s very scary because I wouldn’t even know about the waiver without my case manager,” Hogue said.

Hogue said, if she didn’t know about it four years ago, she’d still be speechless; instead, she’s become the voice for others.​

“I’m speaking for those people who don’t have a voice who cannot speak for themselves because there were people who spoke for me before I could speak for myself,” she said.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.