Houston Denies Surgery Coverage For Cop Shot In Line Of Duty

The worker's comp office denied a medically-retired officer coverage for surgery related to his gunshot wound.

Houston, TX – A 30-year veteran of the Houston Police Department (HPD) was shot in the side by a man who had just killed his wife, his girlfriend, and his three children on Valentine’s Day of 2003.

The bullet went all the way through then-Sergeant Michael Bozeman, tearing up almost all of his internal organs on its way.

Twenty-seven surgeries later, and the police department has decided to stop paying for healthcare for some medical issues related to the Bozeman’s injuries he received in the line of duty, KTRK reported.

Sgt. Bozeman, a homicide investigator, was responding to a call about a missing 28-year-old woman named Flor Estela Roque, who had been missing for five days, on the night he was shot.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Sgt. Bozeman and other officers went looking for her at the home of her married boyfriend, Purnell "Rick" Cauley.

No one answered the door, but there were signs something was amiss. Knowing there were children inside, Sgt. Bozeman attempted to gain entry through a window.

He was shot on his way through by Cauley, who was holed up inside with the dead bodies of Roque, his wife, and his five-, six-, and ten-year-old children.

Cauley eventually shot himself, after a long standoff with police, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Sgt. Bozeman believed he had been fatally shot, and called his 11-year-old daughter and his wife while he waited for an ambulance to transport him from the scene. His wife was also a homicide investigator for HPD.

The sergeant’s insides were torn up from the bullet. The abdominal damage was so bad that surgeons had to go through his small intestines inch by inch to make repairs, but they were able to save him.

In the first year, he had 22 surgeries to repair the damage wrought by the gunshot wound he had gotten in the line of duty. He spent 145 days in bed, and dropped from 200 pounds to 140 pounds.

Doctors had to perform a "wash out" procedure several times, taking out all of his organs to wash them out because of massive infection, and then putting them back in, KTRK reported.

But with extensive therapy and true hard work, Sgt. Bozeman returned to active duty on the streets less than a year after he was shot.

He continued to have problems from the injury and Houston Police medically retired Sgt. Bozeman in 2005.

In 2016, Bozeman developed gall bladder problems that his doctor said could be directly attributed to his gunshot injury, according to KTRK.

But the city of Houston’s worker’s compensation office disagreed, and refused to cover the treatment he required. That decision forced Bozeman to pay out of his own pocket for thousands of dollars in medical bills that were directly attributable to an on-duty injury with the Houston Police.

"My doctor says that it's all related, without a doubt," Bozeman told KTRK.

Dr. Gabriel Habib, the city’s doctor, initially said the gall bladder problems were related to the on-duty injury, but later changed his opinion and said they weren’t, resulting in a denial of coverage. All that without ever having met or spoken to Bozeman, KTRK reported.

Unfortunately, the treatment Bozeman has received from the city is not unique.

Former-Houston Police Officer Jill Hesseldahl had to battle to get workman’s compensation to approve tests after a car crash on duty, and then waited almost two years for major surgery on her neck and back.

She said she believed the delay in treatment contributed significantly to the end of her career in law enforcement.

KTRK reported that statistics from the city of Houston showed 25 percent of Workers' Compensation cases were denied.

Bozeman has appealed the denial for his case.

"I took a bullet and bled for this city, I nearly died," Bozeman told KTRK. "Now they treat me like I don't exist."

Comments (35)
No. 1-35
bronx163
bronx163

FOP SHOULD BE ON THE LEAD OF THIS. THIS IS BS. GIVE THE GUY THE SURGERY. BUT SOME ILLEGAL COMES OVER THE FENCE HE GETS VOTER REG CARD WELFARE FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION AND HOUSING.

Officer Cynical
Officer Cynical

Correct. FOP needs to step up on this on several levels. Hard to believe the city would prevail in court.

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

It's all about the mighty $$$. Work Comp people do all they can to deny benefits. A family member exited my residence in the evening and saw a guy with binoculars looking in my windows and when he confronted him, the guy took off and a chase ensued. The guy got away running lights..... I understand that there are those who cheat the system but when people have surgeries and doctors to back up a claim it's wrong to judge them......... I think the gov't. needs to re-evaluate how things are done. Don't take from those serving this country and deny them help when illegals come here and get EVERYTHING from the system and then.........kill us.

MyRightsMyGun2
MyRightsMyGun2

The city of Houston and the Host on Police Department should absolutely be ashamed of themselves. As should the city doctor for changing his diagnosis because of pressure or a payoff! I smell a rat in this! If I was this gentleman I would any and everyone related to this refusal of service. They expect these officers to give their lives in the line of duty and then because of cost they bail on them when the officers need the help the most!!! Dispicable and heartless! I certainly hope none of them ever need the assistance in the future!

Randy-
Randy-

Ha ha.. lol.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

His situation sucks, but he should just be able to pay for it out of pocket.

angryAmerican
angryAmerican

Houston and Dallas have been disrespecting Law Enforcement for the last several years! There's a stain in their bureaucracy that stinks of libturd!

Resa
Resa

Workers Comp. Insurance is a JOKE . From what I seeing and have experienced all insurance related to line line of duty injury needs to be redone from head to toe and retirement due to ILODI so be redone also. Having to set up to find me pages for LEO IILOD should never have to happen. The city of whatever Government someone works for that's killed ILOD should pay for the funeral service

Gramercy
Gramercy

The surgery he needs..is DEFINITELY the surgery he should get! There is not excuse..no other alternative!

dujaa74
dujaa74

The moment you figure out you're a 'disposable government asset' nothing more .. #FUBAR

joegyomory
joegyomory

These insurance companies are only out to collect premiums and make money. The person deciding on what's covered or not is most likely not even a medical doctor just some low live building up his or her annual bonus.

Unicorn Princess
Unicorn Princess

Well that's one way to show appreciation for what a LEO does every time they suit up and head out. Nothing like giving them the proverbial finger.

Mic911
Mic911

Pay it out of his own pocket?? You are as crazy as they come, just one bill from a doctor could bankrupt this officer! FOP should step in and back their brother! You need to grow up and get a real job....unless you're made of money and can afford to pay for your own "out of pocket" bills

willhunt22
willhunt22

Sgt. Bozeman, I know my words won't fix this Houston gov BS, but know you have my sincere appreciation for your willingness to put your life in jeopardy and to continue to suffer as a result. I salute you, I honor you, I pray to God for your relief and peace. To the Houston gov scumbags throwing you away, BURN IN HELL YOU WORTHLESS ASSHOLES!

nenasmiller
nenasmiller

His medical should be covered. If he had t been injured in the line of duty, he’d have still been working and had his insurance.

NomonK
NomonK

Texas has a reputation of a LAW & ORDER STATE but it's shiny Houston is showing it's dark side by not medically supporting its officers. Kinda reminds me of our VA.

Tammyjo Soles
Tammyjo Soles

This is BS. These Officers go out to serve & protect our communities everyday. They should get all the care they need without question. Just as our Vets, Military, that have been left to live on the streets with no help wat so ever from our government but illegals get everything and anything they want. Fricken wake up America. Time for our government to take care of home first before any other and that means our Men & Women In Blue, Our Vets, & Military 🇺🇸✊🇺🇸💪🇺🇸🤙💙

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@[Tammyjo Soles] illegals don't get everything and everything they want. and the military post-2001 is very well taken care of.

It sounds like your issue is with your government, failing to provide for veterans that got out prior to 9/11.

lego2006
lego2006

Are you really as ignorant as you sound?

lego2006
lego2006

NO!! The "post-2001 military" is NOT "very well taken care of"! My son can attest to that! You're a typical liberal blithering idiot who speaks without facts.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@lego2006 well, i am a post 9/11 veteran, so I am speaking with not only facts, but actual experience in the VA system. I and the vast majority of officers and enlisted that I know personally are well taken care of. Sure, my disability pay is sometimes delayed due to the archaic system of DFAS that the military still uses, but I never had an issue with my GI Bill or an appointment.

But like i said, my uncle doesn't have the same luck as I do. Lots of regulations were put in place after 9/11 to serve veterans. Those that served before that have many more hoops to jump through.

Maybe your son is just having a bad go at it.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@lego2006 have you served in the military? and if you have, you should be giving your son advice on how to navigate the VA. If you haven't served, I will honestly tell you that the people who have the worst time receiving benefits are those that don't know how to research and pursue what is rightfully theirs. The VA isn't there to hold your hand. They are there to help expedite the benefits YOU apply for.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Mic911 no, I'm not made out of money, but I'm very comfortably paid and have insurance. I also am for people in my tax bracket having slightly higher taxes to help those that aren't as fortunate. If only more people saw it like that, everyone would have an easier time with health care.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@lego2006 you don't have to explain it to me, it's something he's dealing with.

And I'm definitely not the exception, the Army is the exception to an otherwise decent-working, if slow, system. Now that you mentioned he's in the Army, soldiers most definitely represent the largest percentage of those with VA problems, at least in my passings.

b1rd
b1rd

@lego2006 I have reason to believe that the majority of what Hi_estComnDenomn says is garbage. I do have knowledge in some of the areas he has claimed to have knowledge in and he shys away when I start digging around. Most of what he spouts is easily found on the internet. The details aren't.

b1rd
b1rd

Please try to ignore him.

lego2006
lego2006

B1rd, I completely agree with you. I'm also convinced that he's a liar & makes his ignorant, absurd statements just to get some sort of a "rise". But there are occasions when I just have to speak up in defense of Truth. He's a sad, self-centered, narrow-minded, shallow person who clearly has a very empty life, despite whatever he may claim to the contrary. Thank you for your post.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@lego2006 but I'm not lying. The VA is great and your son is having a bad go.

Shoulda joined the Navy.

b1rd
b1rd

Evidential you don't know much about the VA either. Which VA do you go to? Come on now, don't be shy.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@b1rd restate your question and tag me.

b1rd
b1rd

Are you that slow?? The question was pretty simple.