One hospital stay away from bankruptcy

People who have never had reason to file for bankruptcy may feel somewhat superior. They know how to handle their money. They are not frivolous and they are careful with their money. They would never have to file for bankruptcy.

Until their ambulance takes a wrong turn in Nashville.

This story comes out of Wisconsin, but it could be just as easily from Nashville or anywhere else in Tennessee. A woman, 29-years-old, who is anticipating planning her upcoming wedding has a heart attack. At 29? Who plans for that? But that stroke of bad luck was compounded when the ambulance took her to a hospital.

Normally that would be a good thing, and it was. She credits her doctors and nurses with saving her life. The problem was, the ambulance went to an out-of-network hospital. Her hospital was three blocks away, but she was unconscious and would spend 10 days in a medically induced coma, and was in no condition to discuss insurance coverage.

The three blocks was the difference between a co-pay and more than $100,000 uncovered hospital charges. She also has additional expenses from doctor bills, ambulance charges and other medical bills.

Her wedding is on hold as she attempts to negotiate the charges down to an affordable amount. She is thinking about bankruptcy, as there may be no other way for her to obtain relief from this massive medical debt.

No one plans on a heart attack at 29. And no one plans on going to the wrong hospital. One patient’s advocate suspected that it “happens more frequently than you think,” and it is times like this that speaking with a bankruptcy attorney can help you find a way forward.

Channel3000.com, “Woman taken to ‘wrong’ hospital faces bankruptcy,” Adam Schrager, November 10, 2014

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