In the US, is it true that when you ride an ambulance to go to the hospital, it costs money for the drive there? Why would it cost money for you to be taken there if you’re in emergency need?

Yes. The day I learned that there are places in the world that don’t charge for an ambulance ride, I realized the “American dream” is called that because you have to be asleep to believe it.

I crashed on an electric scooter one night on my way home from a new job. I woke up in an ambulance, and immediately started to panic, not because of my injuries, because I knew I couldn’t afford the ride. I even asked the paramedics to take me home! I said it as a joke, but, I was only 5 blocks from my house when I crashed.

I had two weeks until my insurance kicked in. When I got to the hospital, I asked to sign a waiver and be discharged, no way I could afford any treatment! The nurse talked me into a tetanus shot and sent me home. The bill for the ambulance was $1700.00. It’s now in collections and keeping me from getting a home loan, or car loan. This is a picture I took of myself when I got home from the hospital.

UPDATE: I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all your kind words of encouragement and advice, I never expected such a reaction. For all those who’ve wished me well, and were concerned about my recovery, here is a picture I took a month after the accident, as you can see I’ve healed quite well, luckily.

Gina Pellegrino

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