A family from Indiana, in Cancun for a “dream wedding,” is now scraping to pay off a hospital after the bride’s grandmother had a heart attack.
The grandmother of the bride, Brittany Daugherty, had surgery to repair a 99 percent blockage in her right artery. Insurance cards were no good in Mexico, and the family had to max out their credit cards to pay $25,000 — up front – for the procedure.
But doctors at Amerimed Cancun Hospital then needed to go in a second time to deal with a blockage in a second artery – and they billed the family another $30,000.
“It kind of feels like she’s being held hostage, because they won’t release her ’til the full balance is paid,” one of the family members told WTHR, an Indiana television station.
The hospital finally allowed a family member to sign a paper allowing the patient, Dixie Stinson, to go into surgery before the second $30,000 payment arrived. But the balance as of right now remains around $20,000.
Passing the hat
The family has raised over $13,000 of that on a GoFundMe page, which is still looking for donors.
“It was at $56,000 and now it’s at $100,000…in just a couple of hours,” Richardson said. “That’s how much the hospital says it wants before they will release her. They have threatened to take her husband to jail if the balances are not paid and then threaten my wife’s sister, Donna, to take her to jail.”
Daugherty says her mother witnessed a woman getting arrested for not being able to pay her son’s medical bill at the same hospital.
“I feel like this is a nightmare. I have literally never felt so helpless,” the bride wrote on the GoFundMe page. “I am a lover, a fighter, a fixer and I can’t even be with my family to share my emotions let alone do something productive there to help. My heart is literally breaking.”
“U.S. citizens have lodged a large number of complaints about unethical business practices” at private hospitals in Cancun, according to the U.S. State Department. Amerimed Cancun Hospital has received generally positive reviews on social media from visitors who praise it for reasonable costs and cleanliness.
“One advantage to this place is it is almost always empty! It is expensive in comparison to ‘local’ hospitals so it really does cater to the tourist sector, the locals go elsewhere,” said a Canadian woman who lives in Cancun.
The U.S. State Department recommends, when possible, visitors abroad try to pin down payment requirements before hospital procedures are done.
With information from: WTHR-TV Indianapolis