News Article Details

Heart patient facing loss of home says depression may have saved his life

Abbotsford News - 12/17/2019

James Jepson said the good part about ending up in the Langley Memorial Hospital psychiatric ward with severe depression was the discovery by doctors of blocked arteries in his heart that required surgery.

"It was a semi-blessing," Jepson told the Langley Advance Times.

But the surgery to correct his heart problem could cost the Langley City resident his home.

Jepson has been at LMH for three weeks, waiting for his operation and unable to work, ineligible for E.I. because he hasn't been working full-time, and he was turned down when he tried to get back on disability.

Jepson said he was given basic social assistance of $795, which is not enough to cover his $1275 rent.

Jepson's sister, Donna Patterson, a single mom on disability, said family and friends chipped in to help pay the rent on her brother's apartment for December, but they won't be able to do it again.

"We're done," Patterson told the Langley Advance Times.

"We don't have any money left."

Patterson has set up a gofundme page with the title "man needs open heart surgery but will have no home" in the hopes of raising enough money to cover her brother's expenses until he has recovered from his surgery, something that is expected to take six months.

"I'm looking for a Christmas miracle," Patterson said.

Otherwise, she said, her brother may not have a home to go to when he gets out hospital.

Jepson, 49, is a brain injury survivor who suffered a violent assault 25 years ago that left him with memory issues and PTSD and qualified him for financial disability assistance.

"They [doctors] straight-out told me I would never work again," Jepson recalled.

"I said, that's not going to happen."

He was able to train for work as a security guard and get off disability, he related.

When he lost his job, Jepson said he was still able to find occasional warehouse work, enough to "barely" cover living expenses, but when a long-term relationship recently ended, he became depressed.

When Jepson told his family he was thinking suicidal thoughts, they arranged to have him transported to the psychiatric ward at LMH.

It was there, he said, that doctors discovered he had high blood pressure, which led to a diagnosis of blocked arteries that would require open heart surgery.

Once the operation is done, Jepson has been told he won't be able to work, because he isn't allowed to do any heavy lifting.

When he tried to reinstate his disability benefits, Jepson said he was told he was considered "borderline" under new rules and not eligible.

He's re-applied, hoping he can get coverage.

"It's just been a rough year," Jepson observed.

"Just brutal."

His surgery was tentatively scheduled for this week.

 
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