NEWS

Paraplegic's $27,800 air ambulance bill cancelled

03/08/2012 12:28 EST | Updated 05/07/2012 05:12 EDT

An Ontario medical facility says a misunderstanding led to a paralyzed B.C. man being billed thousands of dollars for an air ambulance flight to his home province and he will not have to pay for the service after all

Brent Worrall, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a motocross competition accident in Ontario in August 2011, said he was told by a social worker while he was hospitalized in the province that the special flight to Vernon, B.C., would be paid for.

But as he recovered from subsequent surgery in his hometown, he received a bill from the London Health Sciences Centre for $27,800 for the air ambulance flight.

"We felt like we were betrayed and lied to," Worrall told CBC News Tuesday.

In a statement released Wednesday after the CBC News story was published, the London Health Sciences Centre said that, ”an initial investigation showed the patient was aware of the costs, but upon further review, it became evident that conflicting information may have been shared regarding payment.”

The hospital said it would therefore cover the cost of the medical flight.

Upon hearing the news Wednesday, Worrall said it was a great relief to have the billing issue resolved.

"You feel like there's a huge weight lifted,” he said.

Worrall also said he had a warning for other travellers — make sure you read all the fine print about your coverage before travelling out of province.

In B.C. and Ontario, only ambulance transport within the respective provinces is covered by basic health care.

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