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TRIPLE AMPUTEE WANTS TO GO HOME

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Severely injured Malta farmworker Javier Tellez Juarez, hospitalized since Dec. 13, says he is ready to go home.

Juarez, who lost both arms and a leg when his clothes were caught in a tractor-powered post hole digger, was moved from the intensive care unit to rehabilitation at the University of Utah Medical Center last week.Despite his physical condition, Juarez wants to move ahead.

"I feel good considering the ordeal I've gone through," he said. "I'm tired. I just want to go home and be with my family."

Juarez has been at the center of a heated debate in the Idaho Legislature over providing worker's compensation for field workers.

Juarez said the accident occurred so quickly he does not remember much.

"I don't think I had enough time to be scared. I was just there," he said. "When I woke up in the hospital, I don't know what I was thinking. A feeling of confusion."

It was a mishap that could have happened to anyone, he said.

"When something like this happens, who do you blame?" he asked.

When asked if he would pursue legal action against his employers at the Tracy farm, he said an attorney would handle those matters.

"It's a good idea for workers to have this type of insurance," Juarez said of workmen's comp. "This type of accident could happen to other workers anytime, and I hope some good can come out of it."

Juarez said he wanted to thank the community for the help and donations to his wife, daughter and other relatives.

"I'm going to get well, and I've got to move ahead," he said.

Hospital spokesman John Dwan said the facility would not go after money donated to the family. Juarez's hospital bill is about $500,000.

"The hospital will go after all available funds, insurances and other resources to collect payment," he said.

"Javier has received the same care as other patients and we don't differentiate on the inability to pay," Dwan said. "But we can't take Idaho's patients if we're not going to get paid."