Jimmy had worked since he was 10 years old, starting as a paperboy for the Long Island Press, then as a truck driver, fitness trainer, an auxiliary police officer, a cardiac-rehab specialist, a health and wellness director, and eventually an EMT and a field training officer.
“I love helping people. But it’s more than that. It’s being their advocate,” Jimmy said. “I’ve been through a lot of the stuff [patients] go through, so I can be a good advocate.”
But the job was taking a toll on Jimmy’s body. Jimmy frequently transported bariatric patients, some of whom weighed up to 400 pounds.
“You had to pull them out and lift them up,” he recalled. While he was strong, his time as a fitness trainer took a toll on his knees. By 2019, the pain in his knees was severe. “It was bone-on-bone for four years. I got the injections, I tried to push through it, but it just got so bad.”
When Jimmy saw an orthopedic surgeon, the surgeon told him, “He’d never seen anyone this bad walking around.”
“He asked how I could still be working,” Jimmy remembers, “He couldn’t believe it.”
Jimmy needed bilateral knee replacements. At a routine pre-surgery appointment, he learned he had a heart murmur and would need to have open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve.
“It was very invasive and intrusive. They had to actually take my heart out and put me on a heart and lung machine,” he recalled.
As he recovered from the heart surgery, he suffered from multiple complications, including supraventricular tachycardia, rapid atrial fibrillation, and rapid aortic flutter. He went back to the hospital to get cardioverted.
It was then when he reluctantly decided to apply for disability.
“I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t go back to work,” Jimmy recalled. “And I knew I was going in for the knee surgeries, so I’d be out for a while.”
Having never applied for disability before, he wanted to hire an attorney. He found Atticus online, input his information, and quickly received a call.
“[Working with Atticus] went really wonderfully,” Jimmy recalled. “Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
Though reluctant to apply for benefits at first, he was glad to have started the process. “[At first] I thought, ‘I’ll get through this.’ But it was a long recovery, and each [surgery] had a complication, so thank god I applied.”
Atticus matched him with a local, vetted attorney, who “handled everything.”
“[They were] extremely thorough. They went above and beyond, with integrity,” Jimmy said.
The help proved critical as Jimmy ended up facing multiple setbacks to his health. After his knee replacements, Jimmy began struggling to breathe. After three days of self-monitoring his oxygen levels at home, his wife convinced him to see a doctor. He was suffering from a saddle pulmonary embolism.
“My wife was taking care of me. She saved my life. She had to take a lot of days off to take care of me,” Jimmy recalled.
Winning benefits has helped his family “tremendously.”
Now, life is a lot better. He and his wife go to weekly trivia nights at a local restaurant. They have 3 rescue dogs that keep him busy. He’s working out to get back into shape. And he’s “extremely” excited to eventually get back to work as an EMT.
“I’m here, and it’s all good.”
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