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Severely Injured Teen Discharged From Rehab Despite Concerns From Parents

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Being discharge from the hospital or rehab is normally a time of celebration, but a local family says their 15-year-old son - who was badly injured in a car accident last fall - is not medically ready to go home yet.

However, their insurance carrier, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, disagrees.

"We are making the best of a bad situation," says Crystal Meerdo, the mother of Keaton Meerdo.

The 15-year-old was in a horrific accident last October. He was a passenger in a car driven by his sister. They were headed for Trinity High School in Washington County.

But a head-on collision would change all of that. His sister's injuries were not as serious as his.

"He suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury with hemorrhaging in the medulla and the brain stem," his mom said.

Keaton was hospitalized for weeks, and then went to Children's Hospital rehabilitation unit, but Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois says he has to go home.

"They feel that he is at a point where he doesn't need intensive rehab anymore. He can go home and get rehab as an outpatient and hopefully progress," Crystal told KDKA's Brenda Waters.

When asked if that was true, Crystal said, "We will find out."

The insurance company provided this statement on the case late Thursday afternoon: "While privacy laws prohibit us from discussing any individual's insurance matters without appropriate consent, we recognize that health related issues can be stressful for families and we work as quickly as possible to help any of our members with their questions or concerns about their coverage."

Meanwhile, the Meerdos are praying for the best. But, according to the boy's father, Bob Meerdo, they face many challenges in just getting Keaton home.

"We had to go rent a handicap van, $100 a day plus gas with all the traveling for therapy now," he said.

Keaton has therapy three times a week on the South Side, but his family continues to have faith with the help of others and "the man upstairs."

Keaton has made some progress. He operates his wheelchair; he's strong, can walk with braces and communicates with sign language.

His parents' home is not handicap accessible yet, so until upgrades are complete he will be heading to a neighbor's home.

The family is trying to raise money for Keaton through the website.

2 Teens Injured In Washington Co. Crash (10/13/13)
Severely Injured Teen May Be Discharged From Rehab, Parents Upset (5/6/14)
More Reports by Brenda Waters

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