28-year-old Adam Martin, of Sarasota, Florida, was in the wrong place three years ago when his brother's gun unintentionally went off, injuring his spine and leaving him a quadriplegic.
"I don't know what he was doing," Martin said. "Unloading his gun or something, putting it away, and it happened to go off. It paralyzed me."
Martin it only able to move his arms. He had been shifted from hospital to nursing home and back again for the past three years. Since last September he has been in a small room at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The hospital receives no money for his intensive, 24-hour care, even though he is covered by both Medicare and Medicaid, because he has no medical diagnosis that warrants hospitalization. According to a news report, "He is simply existing there, at the end of a corridor on the 10th floor, at taxpayer expense."
The hospital has been trying to find a new home for Martin and has located a nursing home in Georgia but Martin has refused to move because he wants to remain in Sarasota near family and friends. The hospital is taking steps to have Martin evicted.
Nursing homes in Florida are reluctant to offer Martin a bed because Medicaid pays about $150 less per day than their rates. Because he is so young, the nursing home would have to absorb that loss for years to come.
Martin's family and friends are trying to move him into a private residence. But federal funds that could have helped Martin are not available in Florida because state lawmakers rejected a federal grant that would move elderly and disabled patients from nursing homes to their own homes. The grant was part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (also known as Obama Care).
"The legislature didn't feel it was appropriate to take money from a bill that is unconstitutional," said one Republican state representative.
Martin said living in a health care facility he misses eating home cooking and playing music as loud as he wants.
"It would just be more peaceful," he said. "I could just do normal things."