Sarah Manges: We considered it a leap of faith to no longer have health insurance in 2017 when our family of eight became CHM members. Yet, just a few months later we saw God use Christian Healthcare Ministries to provide for an unexpected health crisis during which my heart failed.
On August 3 I was clothes shopping. However, soon after I arrived at a store, I became dizzy, blacked out, and fell. The store’s employees told me later that I hit my head on the concrete floor.
Doug Manges: The store manager called me. I immediately dropped everything to pick Sarah up and take her to the nearest emergency room. Doctors performed a CT scan, revealing a basal skull fracture, broken vertebrae and a concussion. She also suffered two lacerations on the back of her head and needed stitches.
SM: After being transferred to another hospital, I underwent more testing and was placed in a neck brace. After one night I was sent home with instructions to return for a follow-up visit with my primary care physician in two weeks.
DM: For the next two months, she continued to experience dizziness and fainting. Doctors tested for seizures and other causes but couldn’t land on a diagnosis.
SM: On October 28 everything came to a head when my 19-year-old daughter, Abbie, awoke at 4 a.m. and felt compelled to check on me while I was sleeping. She found me lying in bed but not breathing.
DM: Abbie called for me and for our 21-year-old daughter, Lydia, who is an oncology nurse. Lydia confirmed that Sarah wasn’t breathing and couldn’t find a pulse. For the next 10 to 15 minutes she performed CPR while praying repeatedly, “Help me, Jesus.” When the ambulance arrived, the EMTs used a defibrillator to shock Sarah’s heart.
SM: The police officer who arrived on the scene gently explained to my husband and children that this type of situation doesn’t usually end well. I was experiencing ventricular fibrillation (Vfib), a rhythm problem in which the heart no longer pumps blood. It’s a condition that leads to death if not treated promptly.
Thankfully, the second shock brought me out of Vfib and my heart began to beat normally again.
DM: Sarah was rushed to the emergency room, where we rejoiced in the miracle of her regaining consciousness and being moved into the intensive care unit.
SM: Though my short-term memory was gone and I had difficulty communicating those first few hours, I can testify to the power of prayer. More than 100 church and ministry friends came to pray with my family. They praised God when I was given a pacemaker and defibrillator and sent home without the need for step-down care.
DM: It was clear that God’s hand was at work; the prayers of our friends and family were so meaningful to us. Sarah’s doctors provided excellent care. Another bright spot during a dark time was that the nursing and medical staff witnessed God working a miracle for our family. One of the nurses even started attending our church!
SM: We prayed intensely as the medical bills poured in. Since we’d never experienced a significant health crisis before, we started to fear that our sizeable costs were enough to bankrupt us. I suffered another episode and returned to the hospital in Feb. 2018 for more treatment, but I’m doing much better now.
My bills totaled $161,455. I called CHM to learn how to submit our bills and medical bill processing forms. We also talked through asking for discounts and applying for financial assistance. (Editor’s note: A step-by-step guide to submitting medical bills is available under Member Resources.)
DM: Though we didn’t receive hospital financial assistance, we were given a 20 percent self-pay patient discount and obtained a 50 percent discount on bills from another healthcare provider. We submitted all of the information to CHM and waited as God used the ministry to process and share our medical bills.
SM: I admit I was dumbfounded when the first CHM check arrived. Every cent of the eligible expense was shared and I began paying our providers. We received more sharing funds from the ministry; meanwhile, we were offered further discounts from my providers. We were thrilled to send back to CHM an overpayment of more than $53,000 so other members would receive help with their medical bills. (Editor’s note: Returning overpayments—funds you receive from CHM around the same time extra discounts occur—is a CHM membership requirement. See Guideline K.4)
DM: Sarah was only 51 and had never had serious health problems, so her health scare was quite a surprise to our family. Yet, God was at work and His timing is perfect.
SM: I’m so thankful for Christian Healthcare Ministries and particularly that we joined when we did. We often refer our friends to the ministry and share our experience with them. This has been one of our most miraculous life events for two reasons: God allowed my daughter and the paramedics to bring me back to life, and CHM members shared over $9,000 after more than $151,000 in discounts. We’re eternally grateful and confidently tell others that “We’re CHM believers!”