A former employee of the Hudson County Department of Roads and Public Property is seeking help anywhere he can find it as his health continues to deteriorate, with no money or insurance to cover his continually increasing medical costs.
Back in 2003, Louis Ripp fell into a concrete pit where he was working without a ladder, which caused him to develop Peyronieâ€™s Disease: a rare disorder that causes getting an erection to be extremely painful due to the buildup of scar tissues, in some instances to the point where having sex is impossible.
On May 10th, 2004 the county accepted a letter of disability accommodation for Ripp that placed him on light duty, according to documentation provided to Hudson County View by his wife, Jill Ripp.
However, on February 11, 2013, Louis Ripp collapsed and suffered a series of spinal strokes after his former boss, Raymond Gallagher, allegedly insisted he help move bags of rock salt that weighed between 80 and 100 pounds, says a letter from Avenel Iselin Medical Group to from May 23, 2013.
His wife recalled the latter incident during an interview with Hudson County View at a family member’s home in Bayonne (the couple has been back and forth between the Peninsula City and Florida in the past few months).
â€œIn the year of 2013, my husband suffered what they call â€˜spinal infarctions,â€™ which are spinal strokes. Itâ€™s a severe, severe spinal cord injury. At that time, Louie was employed at the county while doing his job and this happened,” she explained.
“Since that time, we have gotten little help from anybody, the county waited eight months before they allowed my husband to see a doctor, theyâ€™ve taken away our medical benefits, theyâ€™ve taken away every single thing thatâ€™s ever happened. And this is a man who worked with an unblemished record all of his life.â€
Jill Ripp further stated that she has been married to Louis for 33 years â€œand we struggle to eat some daysâ€ because of the way they were treated by the Hudson County government.
â€œThe quality of life has diminished beyond what anybody should have to live through.”
â€œI just donâ€™t understand why this happened, why the county had fired me after a year on workmanâ€™s compensation – itâ€™s just unfair,â€ added Louis Ripp, with his wife also stating that she recently had to pull out her own tooth since they havenâ€™t had dental insurance in years.
The former county employee says he was recently diagnosed with renal cysts on his kidneys and liver, but the Claims Resolution Company would not cover any treatment costs related to the cysts.
While an attorney was retained in the matter, Otto Scerbo, on April 1, 2013, but that ended up being nearly a year-and-a-half of wasted time and money as he was disbarred on September 24, 2014.
During this time frame, Louis Ripp was scheduled for neck surgery twice, once in March and again August, but in both instances, the CRC canceled. While he finally received the first of three surgeries on October 15, 2014, his treatment for the February 11, 2013 work injury did not occur until January 28, 2016.
Additionally, between October 2014 and February 2016, the couple said they attempted to hire another Jersey City-based law firm, Krumholz, Dillon, P.A., but they were unable to get on the same page and the statue of limitations on their case expired.
â€œSo the attorneys â€¦ we have no faith in that legal system whatsoever,â€ said a teary-eyed Jill Ripp.
Although the statute of limitations has expired, the Ripps are hopeful that a loyal viewer/reader will be able to offer some sort of help, also stressing the importance of making sure no other family gets caught up in a scenario similar to the one they are in ever again.
â€œWe would never want this to happen to another human being alive ever, ever. It needs to be out there so people know. My husband deserves his retirement. We deserve a family medical plan,” exclaimed a sad Jill Ripp.
“We deserve to â€¦ have our health taken care of. He deserves glasses to see. And we have none of it â€¦ heâ€™s only getting worse, heâ€™s not getting better.”
â€œI need someone from the county, please reach out and explain to me whatâ€™s going on. I need somebody to explain because what happened to me is a travesty. And sure that no one else in Hudson County knows what happened to me and I know a lot of people in Hudson County: I worked there 24-and-a-half years.â€
Louis Ripp concluded by saying that his struggle is even more complicated than meets the eye, as the county has threatened to sue him for using sick and vacation time he had not earned – a claim he vehemently disputes.
County officials did not return multiple inquiries seeking comment.