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Disabled sheriff's deputy: medical claims denied by county

September 9, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A San Bernardino sheriff's deputy who survived a dangerous infection that claimed his limbs is fighting to regain his health. But the deputy says his biggest obstacle is not a physical one.

Albert Lobo has kicked down a few doors in his 20-year career with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

"Dealing with this is a whole different chapter," said Lobo.

In 2010, while working in a San Bernardino County jail, Lobo contracted pneumonia. Then a blood infection forced the amputation of his legs, left arm and all the fingers on his right hand.

"I also had 17 flat-lines and six heart attacks, and I am still here to tell you this story," said Lobo.

Three years later he says his toughest battle is his ongoing one with the county's risk management department.

"The fight for my life was a piece of cake. The fight with Risk Management is a nightmare," said Lobo.

Lobo says his medical claims have repeatedly been denied. And that it took more than a year to get his prosthetic legs. Now he says he's having trouble getting his arms.

"We've requested authorization for prosthetic limbs -- he had upper limbs that require specific high-tech prosthetic limbs that are expensive but necessary," said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Goldman.

Lobo says the county has denied that claim.

In the meantime, Lobo receives three therapy sessions a week. Two days of which are provided by Dr. Goldman, who says the county only approved one day.

"At the end of the day they, they are more worried about 'How much money do we have to spend on this individual rather than give them the help that they need,'" said Lobo.

San Bernardino County says it sympathizes with the deputy and has paid out more than $1.5 million.

"The county will continue to honor all reasonable and verified expenses related to former Deputy Lobo's care," the county said in a statement.

Lobo says he's fighting the county for all first-responders hurt in the line of duty.

"I don't plan on giving up, not anytime soon," said Lobo.

Lobo says he will be in court on September 16 to try to get his claims approved.


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