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."

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!

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.

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.

AMEN & Well said!

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 🇺🇸✊🇺🇸💪🇺🇸🤙💙

@[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.

Are you really as ignorant as you sound?

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.

@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.

@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.

@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.

I'm not going to waste my time explaining my son's VA "benefit" issues with you. His formerly enlisted Army buddies are ALL experiencing the same problems. I'm thrilled that you and your multitude of Veteran friends aren't. Consider yourselves extremely fortunate and blessed. You are the exception, not the rule.

@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.

@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.

Please try to ignore him.

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.


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

Shoulda joined the Navy.

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

@b1rd restate your question and tag me.

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