NEW KENSINGTON (KDKA) — An afternoon of family fun left a New Kensington man paralyzed. More than a year later, he’s finally back home, but his wife says he is not getting the around-the-clock care he was approved for.
The waters of a backyard swimming pool changed Dan Hika’s life and his family forever.
“That pool, I don’t want that pool there. I want it gone,” said Dan. “They want to put me in it, no way. Get rid of it.”
Rough housing with his kids in June of last year, Dan dove into the backyard pool and broke his neck. He’s now paralyzed from the shoulders down.
“Waking up every day, live it day by day,” said Dan. “Thank God I’m waking up.”
The family gathered in the backyard Friday. It’s the first time Dan has been home in more than a year.
“His life is not over, it’s just different,” said Cheryl Hika, Dan’s wife. “Our roles have all changed now.”
Simply put, Dan’s care is a 24-hour job. He’s a quadriplegic.
His wife works full time, his kids are in school. Still, the family will take care of him with the help of nurses’ aides from a state Department of Welfare program.
Cheryl: “He should have somebody here, 10 hours.”
KDKA’s Marty Griffin: “Right now?”
Cheryl: “Right now.”
Fact is, KDKA’s investigation shows it looks like Dan’s case was mishandled by the state Department of Welfare. Nurses’ aides were not there Friday. KDKA found out his so-called budget isn’t approved yet.
“It’s almost criminal to send a man home in this condition and not have his care in place,” said Cheryl.
Late Friday afternoon, KDKA’s Marty Griffin was called by a representative of the Governor’s Office expressing concern about the Hika case.
The Governor’s Office will now get involved. They say they would like to have this resolved soon.