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Woman hit by lightning has insurance, still faces massive medical bills

Allison and Josh Seel and their kids

Allison and Josh Seel and their kids

CALHAN, Colo. — A Colorado woman is lucky to be alive after lightning struck her in the head two weeks ago at the El Paso County Fair.

“All you could hear is a loud pop. I thought somebody had shot me,” Josh Seel said.

He brought his wife and three children to the El Paso County fair to enjoy the day. He said it was a sunny day, with a few clouds in the distance. All of a sudden, lightning struck seemingly out of nowhere.

“All I could see was white and I felt my body tense up,” he said.

His wife, Allison, was struck in the head. The lightning hit the back of her head, traveled down her right arm and out her hand, which was holding her children’s stroller.

“She had no pulse. She wasn’t breathing,” Josh recalled, “just laying there stiff as can be.”

Josh immediately started CPR as others called 911. Allison had to be airlifted to the burn unit at Swedish Medical Center in Denver. She suffered third degree burns, ruptured ear drums and had nerve damage. Aside from some possible long-term nerve damage, Allison is expected to make a full recovery.

But the Seels told the Problem Solvers their hospital stay isn’t covered by their insurance. Allison has both medicaid and veteran’s insurance. They said when they presented her medical cards, Swedish refused them.

“I go, do you want our insurance cards? They go, who do you have? I told her and she goes we don’t work with them,” Josh said.

Allison and Josh said there is no way they can pay the thousands in medical bills the lightning strike has racked up because they can barely make ends meet now. Josh can’t work because he is having a series of several back surgeries. Allison can’t work because of the lightning strike.

On top of all that, they have a 15-month-old daughter with special needs. The little girl has a rare genetic condition that requires six doctor visits per week.

“Our last thoughts were, I could start donating plasma around her appointments,” Josh said. “Anything to start doing bills.”

Until the bills start rolling in, the family is focusing on Allison’s recovery.

“It’s a lot of pain. I overdo it during the day and I cry at night. But it’s worth it,” Allison said through tears.

It’s worth it, because she has three children and a husband who need her. She has so much to live for, even if she has nothing else.

“We’ll make it somehow but it’s extremely rough,” she said. “We try to make every day worth a smile.”

If you’d like to donate, Allison’s friends set up a GoFundMe account that she can use to cover medical expenses and other bills.