TennCare grants mother's appeal for paralyzed son's bed

TennCare grants mother's appeal for paralyzed son's bed

Posted:
The bed provided by TennCare didn't fit Kerry Brummitt. The bed provided by TennCare didn't fit Kerry Brummitt.
"It's fantastic. He didn't wake up until 8 o'clock this morning," his mother said. "That was awesome." "It's fantastic. He didn't wake up until 8 o'clock this morning," his mother said. "That was awesome."

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A mother is relieved that her fight with TennCare has finally ended. For more than a month, she tried to get a longer bed for her severely disabled son.

The teenager had a stroke that left him incapacitated.

Taller people usually prefer king size beds that fit their length better. But everything changes for a person who's paralyzed and tall.

Since the end of August, Kerry Brummitt, 18, was using a bed that was too short for his 6'5" frame.

Kerry suffered an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) rupture in his brain three and a half years ago. It's like an aneurysm.

Before his stroke in January 2009, Kerry was a typical teenager. He graduated from Loudon High School this April.

However, for the last few weeks he was uncomfortable because the bed provided by TennCare didn't fit him.

His mother, Tammy Brummitt, says her son doesn't have good neck control so that's why Kerry has a specially designed wheelchair with an attached neck brace.

Since the bed was so short, it didn't have protection for him in the back. "No, not at all," Tammy added.

The bed TennCare provided came apart a month ago. It was a large air mattress type bed and it would turn Kerry, helping prevent dangerous bed sores.

As a replacement, he was given a smaller bed in August. "This is an air mattress, but it does not turn him," Tammy said. "It doesn't do anything."

They wanted something longer, but TennCare said this is the bed it offered Kerry "because I get 24/7 nursing. They feel like he can be turned with pillows and woken every two hours," Tammy explained. "Who wants to be woken up every two hours?"

Unable to speak, Kerry uses what's called an Echo II computer. It does the speaking for him. He describes the comfort of the bed as "okay, but not the best." He said he wanted a longer bed.

"Kerry is, and still is, he's my heart," his mother said. "He was a bright young man, still is. I've been fighting for three and a half years to keep him alive and keep him well."

The bed Tammy fought to get is a Total Care Sport Bed, which at first she believed Kerry would receive. But it's not the one that was sent.

"I want them to give him the bed they said they were going to. I feel like they did a bait and switch on me," Tammy said.

TennCare told 6 On Your Side that people can appeal if they believe they're been inappropriately denied a service. If that's rejected, a second appeal can be filed.

Tammy appealed a second time and a new Total Care Sport Bed is now in Kerry's room. "They magically, after you contacted them, they called back Monday morning and said the bed was approved," she said.

The high tech bed comes with its own computer panel. And best of all, Kerry's head is where it's supposed to be and so are his feet. The bed fits him and it's comfortable.

"It's fantastic. He didn't wake up until 8 o'clock this morning," Tammy said. "That was awesome."

When I asked Kerry what he thought of it, he gave a thumbs up.

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