A skiing instructor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, who had a tree branch puncture his face last week is now praising the Affordable Care Act.
Natty Hagood was skiing through some trees last Wednesday when he attempted to go through a gap that was smaller than expected.
“I went through it, but it knocked me on my butt,” Hagood told The Huffington Post. “Something felt off on my face. I didn’t know if I broke my jaw but everything felt OK.”
Hagood thought the accident knocked his chin strap to his upper lip, but when he touched it, he noticed something else.
“I realized I had impaled my face with a tree branch,” he said. “My roommate and skiing partner said, ‘That’s fucking disgusting!’”
Hagood estimates the tree branch sticking through his face was about 2 feet long. He thinks the reason that it was so thick is that the snow level is higher than usual.
He managed to break off most of the branch before the ski patrol arrived and took him down to the resort clinic.
After that, Hagood was taken to a hospital where emergency doctors and a plastic surgeon worked on his face to remove the branch and repair his lip area.
“The numbing shots were more painful than the actual injury,” Hagood said. “It’s just a flesh wound. I went skiing the next day. But I have a big swollen lip and I drool more than I used to.”
An injury that might leave some people shaken has Hagood feeling grateful for the Affordable Care Act.
But though the ACA is making the injury more affordable, the tree branch not only put a hole in his lip, but also a $1,500 hole in his pocket.
He’s been hoping to pay medical bills with the help of a GoFundMe campaign that reached the $1,500 goal early Tuesday morning.
“Health care is a business in this country,” he said. “A way to make money off sick people.”
Hagood has kept the branch he impaled himself on and jokes he’d like to gild it in gold and hang it up at the ski school where he teaches as sort of “a wall of fame for injuries.