Bankruptcy Related

My Husband’s Medical Situation Has Led Us to the Financial Bottom

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Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

Today a woman came to my door and served me papers. The papers state I am being sued by Wells Fargo Bank for credit card debt totaling over $8900.

In March of 2017, my husband was hospitalized for extensive infections on his feet and toes. He was diagnosed with MRSA.

On May 15, 2017, he was fired from his Vice President of Sales position with a private company, after 26 years of service.

He was given 1 week of his six-figure salary. We were left holding the bag for many, many business expenses, including but not limited to: the lease on his company car, which he naively had put in his own name, car insurance on this car, company landline and mobile phone, internet service, health insurance for both of us plus our child, company AMEX in his name.

It was devastating.

He was trying to recover in 2017 with daily IV antibiotics vía a placed PICC line in his arm. He was on this round of treatment for 85+ days. I was given the responsibility of administrating this daily treatment.

In June of 2018, he was hospitalized for over 3 weeks. His large (grand) toe on his left foot was probably going to be amputated. However, the aggressive treatment and 100% bed rest saved the toe at that time. He was sent home with another PICC and remained on IV antibiotics for over 125 days. Once again, I was the primary caregiver in charge of administering these IV treatments daily.

Sadly in early 2019, his infection once again became out of control. This time he was hospitalized for over two weeks and his grand toe on his right foot was amputated. He was once again on 100% bed rest. He was able through oral antibiotics to keep the infection at bay until July 2020. At this time, he was admitted to the hospital for nine days. He was once again sent home with an IV PICC line and remained on IV antibiotics for 8 1/2 weeks. This time they needed to be administered twice daily. Each time the administration took one hour and 45 minutes. I was once again the caregiver.

Once we knew he would not be able to return to his high-level technical sales career, we got the assistance of an attorney to file for Social Security disability. He was granted Social Security disability in February 2020.

Since he first got sick in 2017, I was unable to keep my business afloat because I was 100 percent responsible for his daily care including IV antibiotics, dressing his wounds, bathing, meal preparation, cleaning, etc.

Needless to say, our bills were exponential. Not only was his income taken away from us but all the additional expenses that his company gave to him as benefits were now our responsibility to pay. Needs such as health insurance, the company car (it was repossessed), insurance on that car, gas for the car, cell phone, internet service.

I would like to know if the situation I described above would be beneficial for us to share with the court?

We are unable to repay the expense at this time. He receives about $4000 as his SSA Disability benefit.

At the time of his initial onset of sickness, we owned two homes, one in Georgia one in Florida. We have sold both homes.

We have gone through our entire 401(k). We have no investments left. I have been seeking employment the entire time when I am not being his caregiver.

I did have employment from 6/19-11/19. When he improves and he doesn’t need a 100% caregiver, I do seek employment. Since COVID-19 has happened I have been unable to find a position. I am just looking for advice on the best way to reduce this liability as much as possible as we do not have the money to pay it until I could find a position.

Debbie

Answer:

Dear Debbie,

I’m so sorry to hear about the horrific experience you’ve been through. MRSA is a nasty infection.

It is just as tragic that you’ve been through your 401(k) and savings. I wish I had a want to wind back the clock because we might have been able to protect the 401(k) for when you will need it most when you can’t work.

Yours is a situation that bankruptcy is designed for. I’m not sure if you are obligated to all these business debts and credit card account. If you are not and your husband is solely liable, he can file bankruptcy alone.

The advantage of bankruptcy is that it will close the door to all the past financial obligations that have been dragging you down and give you your fresh start afforded to you under the U.S. Constitution.

At this point, you need to start looking forward, and not back.

You absolutely should find a good local bankruptcy attorney and have a free discussion about what bankruptcy would mean for you. Bankruptcy is the fastest way to get a fresh start for the least amount of money.

Most people fear bankruptcy and have the wrong beliefs about what bankruptcy really means. See So You Are Going to File Bankruptcy. That’s Great News. Congratulations.

My concern at this point would be if you can find a way to live without taking on more credit since bankruptcy is a great tool to climb yourself back out of a hole and not so good when you are still digging it deeper.

The emotional hits you’ve both taken can shake your self-esteem to your core. It can leave you feeling depressed and makes it hard to move forward with a positive “can-do” point of view. But that’s the point I need to get you both back to.

Tackling the debt with bankruptcy can do that and allow all your attention to focus forward instead of looking back over your shoulder with regret.


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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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