Richard Bissette, 51, of Luling suffered with liver problems for a couple of years, but when he caught the E. coli virus, his liver finally quit working, forcing him to have an expensive liver transplant.
According to the Center for Disease Control, if a person ingests enough E. coli bacteria into their body system, it can attack vital organs like the liver. E. coli can be acquired by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water and by contact with fecal material from infected persons or animals.
Bissette’s liver surgery on Oct. 10 has altered his life and his finances. He must now receive full time nursing care from his 80 year-old mother, a retired registered nurse who worked at the St. Charles Parish Hospital.
“Richard survived the transplant surgery and it’s a miracle,” Carl Dean, Bissette’s mother said. “He has to take medicines that are extremely expensive and his insurance is expected to stop covering him soon.”
With numerous trips to Oschner to draw blood and check his new liver, and various other procedures, the family needs all the help they can get.
R. Bissette, who was able to work from home previously before his liver transplant, is now on a fixed income because of his short-term disability.
“Without my liver working properly, I get tired very easily and I suffer with some confusion,” he said. “Right now, I’m still insured with my company, but once they switch me over from short-term disability to long-term disability, my insurance carrier will no longer cover my medical expenses.”
Some of the medications have caused R. Bissette to become a diabetic.
“He has to take insulin shots now regularly and needs his dressings cleaned where the incision was several times a day,” C.D. Bissette, said
The National Liver Foundation will reimburse the family on certain expenses, but they expect the family to raise the funds first to help themselves. Then the foundation will match those funds.
“They do assist us with paying gas and mileage for the numerous visits Richard has to take to Oschner for his appointments,” C.D. Bissette said. “But the purpose of our fundraiser is to make sure he’s covered when the insurance stops.”
The first of several events to raise money for the Bissette family will be a benefit ride and dinner sponsored by local businessmen in the parish. It will be held Dec. 9 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the “The Barn” located at 12499 River Road next to Monsanto Plant. The motorcycle route is yet to be determined.
“We’re grateful for all of the support received from our friends, family and the community,” C.D. Bissette said.