2 Survivors of San Bernardino Massacre Open Up About PTSD, Survivor's Guilt and Mounting Medical Bills
"I think we all assumed we pay a lot of money for health insurance, and we'll be taken care of," Ray Britain said. "Unfortunately, that didn't happen."
More than a year after the deadly massacre at an office holiday party in San Bernardino, two survivors are speaking out about dealing with PTSD and survivor's guilt on a daily basis.
Fourteen people were killed and another 22 were injured after Syed Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 29 shot more than 1,600 rounds of ammo at the gathering on December 2, 2015.
Ray Britain, 48, was working as an interim division chief for Environmental Health Services when he recalled the shooting in an interview with the syndicated daytime series, The Doctors.
"The door opened," he said. "The individual dressed in black and a ski mask, assault rifle, started spraying the room. I remembered the shock on peoples' faces."
Britain ended up escaping the scene and leaving to get help, yet the trauma of witnessing his friends and co-workers shot and killed was enough to leave a lasting effect.
"I've been formally diagnosed with PTSD," Britain said. "It's a rollercoaster of depression and anxiety and paranoia."
For Julie Piez, 50, a former environmental health inspector working in Ray's department, however, the scars were more visible.
"The first bullet shattered my pelvis, the second bullet went through my rectum," she recalled. "I thought this might be it. I was with two of my friends, and they both were killed."
While both their roads to recovery have been difficult, the one challenge they never expected to encounter was medical coverage.
Both Piez and Britain said their health insurance is not covering any treatment necessary as a result of that fateful day, and they are now fighting to have their bills covered through worker's compensation.
"I think we all assumed we pay a lot of money for health insurance, and we'll be taken care of," Britain said. "Unfortunately, that didn't happen."
Tune in to The Doctors on Wednesday, January 18, to find out more about Britain and Piez's journey to recovery. Check local listings or visit their website for more information.
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