Oologah Officer Says Dealing With Workers' Comp Stalling Recovery

Thursday, May 26th 2016, 7:12 pm
By: News On 6

It’s been nearly a year since Oologah officer, Charles Neill, was shot in the head during a pursuit with criminals firing with automatic weapons.

Despite being diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, he said he still hasn't seen a neurologist or even had an MRI, because of workers' comp.

Neill said he just got approval to see a neurologist, but he's been told there's not one in Oklahoma that will take workers comp payments, so he doesn't know if he'll be allowed to see one out of state or will be out of luck.

His on-the-job injury was caught on tape, when he was shot in the head during a chase which caused him to wreck.

Neill said he has short term memory loss, headaches, numbness in his arms, bulging discs in his back and neck, speech issues and will likely never be an officer again.

5/25/2016 Related Story: Oologah Officer Shot In 2015 Pursuit Still Recovering

He said his recovery has stalled because of worker's comp.

"You shouldn't have to fight just to see a doctor," Cherisa Neill said.

In addition to fighting for medical care, it's been a huge hit to the finances - he gets 70 percent of his salary from workers' comp.

"Your mortgage doesn't go down, bills don't decrease just because you're injured," he said.

Neill served his country in the Navy, then as a police officer. Now, he can't work side jobs like he used to, to make extra money.

If he goes the VA for treatment, he said he loses the workers comp, and if he uses his private insurance, he can't afford all the co-pays.

If they move out of state so his wife can make more as a teacher, he also loses his workers comp.

"It's heartbreaking at times to see he's struggling and I can't make it better,” Cherisa said. “If I had a million dollars he'd be at the best doctors, but I don't, and it's frustrating."

Charles said he wants to get better, wants to get back to some type of work, but the system has him stuck in limbo.

We called workers' comp, but officials told us they can't comment on current cases.