Home / Bureaucracy / $780 Bill for Late-Showing Ambulance. The Victim Died.
Print Friendly and PDF

$780 Bill for Late-Showing Ambulance. The Victim Died.

Written by Gary North on February 22, 2013

It was New Year’s Eve. The Washington D.C. fireforce was sick. Really sick. A quarter of them called in sick. I mean, you don’t want firemen on the job on New Year’s Eve if they’re sick.

But the firemen also answer emergency calls. One man called in for an ambulance. His father was short of breath. So, the person on duty called an ambulance company.

Sure enough, the ambulance showed up. It was a little late. It took 40 minutes. But remember, it was New Year’s Eve. There were a lot of sick people all over the nation’s Capitol. It was a pandemic.

The man died. He never made it home.

That did not stop the ambulance company from billing his heirs $780. The ambulance company got him to a hospital. Yes, it was too late. But there was nothing in the contract about almost DOA.

As you might expect, there has been a PR problem. Over 160,000 people have signed an online complaint. But that will blow over.

A deal’s a deal.

The D.C. Fire Department is sick about it. Almost as sick as it was on New Year’s Eve.

Continue Reading on www.wtop.com

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

42 thoughts on “$780 Bill for Late-Showing Ambulance. The Victim Died.

  1. richeyrich says:

    Wow, that's pretty cheap. My husband's ambulance ride was over $3,000. Sorry for the death of the man.

  2. dntmkmecomoverther says:

    I find it interesting (and appalling) that cities/municipalities confiscate money from its citizens under the auspices of ‘delivery of services’…then turn around and bill us each month for those services…and on TOP of that, if you need a special service like a firetruck or ambulance, they stick you with the cost of that too. So it begs the question: Where the hell did my confiscated tax dollars go????!!!

  3. Yes, of course there was a bill. The ambulance responded! They had to pay for the ambulance, the fuel, the crew. They performed the service they were called upon to do. They had no control of the outcome. In the area I live, the nearest hospitals are 25-30 miles away. The ambulance and fire companies here are all volunteer and they are often at least 10-15 miles away and required to traverse two-lane country roads to get here. Sometimes people DO die waiting for the ambulance, in transit to the hospital and shortly after arriving at the hospital. Should their families pay under these circumstances? Of course!! There are many reasons for ambulance crews to arrive when they do, but if they arrive and perform a service, they need to be paid.

  4. Into some politican's pocket, of course.

  5. It happens all the time folks. I've been with fire & rescue for over eight years…you wouldn't believe the horror stories!

  6. elysianhunter says:

    I heard that. Why do I pay taxes and vote for levies to fund the police and fire departments only to get charged $680 for a three mile ride to the hospital? I understand there might be people who abuse the system but I am not one of those people. Next time if I think I might be having a heart attack I’ll just drive myself or have someone take me and then die in the ER waiting room- because if the squad doesn’t bring you, you will be left to rot in the waiting room for hours at a time until someone gets around to you. Of course, the people on public assistance use the ER for their family Dr. (since you and I are paying for it anyway) so those of us who are not only paying for them but paying out the wazoo for private insurance (that doesn’t cover nearly as much as it should for as much as it costs) get to sit in the ER with broken bones, etc. while their kids are rushed right in with sniffles and cuts. The health care system in this country SUCKS and it’s because 1. taxpayers are subsidizing the care of way too many freeloaders, and 2. government has butted into and over regulated healthcare. But I don’t care how ill I am I will NOT call the squad ever again. If I die, I die. It really pisses me off the abysmal care that people get especially for the premium prices we pay for it!

  7. But Karen, the firehouse was 12 blocks away, not 25- miles, nor 1 mile. 40 minutes after a call? oh please. Incompetent at the best.

  8. blessmedear says:

    Last week while traveling on a highway between two towns my husband and I came upon what looked to be a severe auto accident. Since three other vehicles were already there with people who had a cell phone calling EMS we drove on down the road. We had nearly gotten to the next town about 25 minutes later when we met an ambulance heading in that direction. I don't know what the delay was. Maybe they were all out on other calls. It was at a busy time of day. There are few ambulances to respond to many calls.

  9. My brother lives out in the country, but has a quarter mile long driveway. He was hurting in the back of his neck,and arm so bad, and he kept thinking, "I'm here all alone, and I think I am about to pass out" .He didn't know if he was having a stroke, a heart attack or what, so he made the call to our friendly ambulance carrier. They got to his home, but seeing that his driveway was not shoveled out because of snow, they made him walk the length of that driveway, to get to the ambulance. They charged him for an ambulance pickup, which was around $750 to the hospital. No brakes, ( from the ambulance dispatch) for him having to walk the quarter mile, which by the way could have killed him. It's a good thing that he did live, because if he had not, there would be a lawsuit in their laps, as fast as you can say, " Ethics? What ethics? ! "

  10. blessmedear says:

    In my own area there are just a few ambulances and EMTs who must serve thousands of people. They can't be in two places at the same time. Often if they are all out on a call they have to request assistance from neighboring towns that may be 25 miles away. The fire dept will also respond and do what they can. We also depend on the Sheriff and deputies. Response in bad weather can be a real problem here.

  11. blessmedear says:

    In my area we have what is called Minor Emergency Clinics with little wait and no appointment required. I would go to one of them. I am already in their system since they also give flu shots etc….. I would just show up at their door let them give me emergency care and allow them to call an ambulance if necessary. I once went to them for treatment of a fracture. I had little wait, they ex-rayed it right there and I went on my way with a "boot" on the foot. If I had no insurance they would have charged on a sliding fee scale with no ER charge at all.

  12. blessmedear says:

    If you want to know where the money goes, do like very few people do…..start attending the city councell budget meetings….Attend the county budget meetings…..I do so I now know where every penny in the county is spent.

  13. I agree….last time I was taken to the ER by ambulance it cost me $800 for a two mile trip…then I sat on the gurney for 3 hours and no one attended to me until I told them I would sign myself out. All the illegals were taken care of first and they don't put a dime into the system…you and I are paying for it. After I signed myself out I got a bill stating I was examined by a doctor there….I fought it and won…I should have reported them for fraud. There should be a law written that if you're not a natural born american you get zero service…politicians don't give a damn because they have their gold plated health care. If you're legal and work and pay your taxes you're okay, but we have too many freeloaders in this country…no wonder we're BROKE.

  14. paratrooper says:

    Don't pay it.
    End of story.

  15. Just wait UNTIL [we] see the NEW charges, fees, and co-pays that are coming with the much-heralded and just super-terriffic OBAMACARE…and those that have never paid into the system, will DEMAND that they be exempted from any changes and then you will witness the decline and fall of why you should NEVER listen to what Obama says…pay CLOSE attention to what Obama DOES. And what he is DOING is preparing all of us for living out our freedoms in a controlled systematic elimination so that the chosen remainders are free and clear to collect their "FAIR" share…until there is nothing left to share. Too late !

  16. sunnynomore says:

    Went to the emergency room 3 weeks ago and waited 4 hours with only a few people there who came in afterwards. My daughter was in a lot of pain and thought she broke her ankle. Finally, we got our 10 minutes of service from a PA and nurse and an approximately $2,000 bill for a sprained ankle. If that wasn't bad enough, we gave them our insurance at the time of the visit, but have since received multiple letters demanding insurance info or payment even though they were given the info 4 times. The hospital had a big sign up saying if you can't pay or have no insurance, we'll treat you anyway. I guess that's because they are charging people like me for the care of others.

  17. Well maybe our employees will start charging to pick up children with the big yellow solistic busses. Maybe charge you mileage on the trip to and from school. Maybe charge you for mileage when a cop comes to your location for any reason. How about some more taxes to fix infostructure, after all there has been a tax from the get go for infostructure but our employees being as honest as they are spent that money elsewhere. How about these county tranportation vehicles start charging as taxie companies charge. This articile is about a man getting picked up by an ambulance and DOA then family recieving a bill, since man died did the family think this makes ride free? Sorry for the family's loss but this is a stupid article.

  18. socilistic actual word got in a hurry sorry grammer police

  19. Well, just because you go by ambulance doesn't mean you're going to be first in line. I know that for a fact. Some years ago I fell down some stairs, hit head first on the sidewalk (there were no handrails to grab for) and got a concussion, broke my nose, broke my hand and thought I had broken my knee. Went by ambulance to the hospital, sat in the corridor
    for over an hour (no, it was not the county hospital), then when I finally got into a room sat there for several hours before anyone came to see me and still it was only a nurse practitioner – NEVER saw a physician. I really don't mind paying for an ambulance if the charge is reasonable, they arrive in a timely fashion and do their job correctly. In this particular case, it sounds like no one did their jobs. Was the force really sick or was there something else going on and this was their way of protesting? Hard to say.

  20. GrustyOldGeezer says:

    That's just one of the benefits of government unions and their bought ansd paid for politicians kicking out the Private Ambulance Services in favor of high paying jobs for useless union hacks that want all the benefits of the job with actually haveing to do the job.

  21. GrustyOldGeezer says:

    DC isn't "rural America" and the "volunteer" crews don't screw around and dawdle because hurrying is just too much trouble.

  22. I have seen a single car accident, driver out of car walking about just fine..and no property damage (hopped a kerb into a grass field). All that was really needed was a tow truck. . two cop cars, a large fire truck, and FOUR ambulances showed up. This "justifies" the "fact" that "we don't haev enough qequipment or crews", so please vote YES on the next levy. Nice way to pad the payroll with unneeded high paid union loafers. Union make work rules likely dictate this waste of ezpensive equipment and labor.

  23. I would say that is cheep! where I live, if you need an airlift, from the hospital, the ambulance ride around the hospital, to the hello pad in the back yard cost $600!!!, to ride around the building!!! and the hello ride to the hospital on the main land is $6000!!!! whether you live or die!

  24. And like a good little obama voter you paid it without question, right? Its unbelievable to think these firefighter's and ambulance people are praised as Hero's! These people are already paid by your tax dollars and yet they still send you a bill for any service's. To me that's fraud and theft ! Why do they need two (2) payments for the same service? Do you get paid twice for the work you do? and since when does a simple ban-aide cost $6.00 dollars ?
    You can bet that the so-called "Sick" firemen were not sick at all, they wanted to go to the party they were invited to! Can't go to the party if you have to work, right!
    I'm sorry that a good person had to die so these so-called hero's could go party !

  25. Its your Social Security Number they have to have to finish their report ! That's all they need to take everything you own to steal your money ! If your dumb enough to give it to them then you are going to pay or your credit will be destroyed ! You do NOT have to give them your SS Number, NO matter what they tell you! If they want a Social Security Number give them the SS number obama is using from the dead guy in Conn. 042-68-4425

  26. The "others" you speak of are in fact the "illegals" in the country for the FREE medical that YES you are paying for. Why wouldn't you want to come here when someone else is paying for your FREE Medical care, FREE food, FREE phones, FREE money, FREE housing, and a nice pat on the back for voting for obama!

  27. Actually, it would have been the deceased's social security number that they would have taken. So what if they are going to ruin the guy's credit… he's dead! And actually, the heirs DON'T have to pay the final bill. It is one of the bills that is forgiven, by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and not obligated to be paid.

  28. Your still an A$$-h*le charlie! these so-called "Hero's" are already getting paid with the tax dollars the city and county charge you with. Yet for some reason you feel they need to get paid twice! Well, go ahead and give them extra money if you have it charlie, I don't care if you want to give your money away to lazy, incompetent people, its your money! I'm not going to give them anything.

  29. Again, Mr. North makes a non-issue another non-issue. He should stick with things that he knows. When a service is performed it should be paid for. Sorry the guy died, but it wasn't a "life saving" service that answered the call, it was an ambulance service.

    As for New Year's sickness epidemics; if the police and EMS unions weren't so insurmountable and they actually punished or fired people for this type of crapola it wouldn't happen as often… fat chance of that.

  30. Taxes go for the upkeep of the services and to make sure they are available. You still must pay if you actually need to use the services!

  31. We pay the tax to insure the service will be available if we need it – not to pay for the service if we do need it – that is what insurance is for! If one refuses to pay, that just means it costs the rest of us more in taxes! If we all refuse to pay the taxes will either be raised for all of us, or the service will be discontinued! I have no problem paying $1.50 a month to insure the service will be available if I need it. I'll worry about paying for the service call IF I survive. As to this story: Nothing in life is guaranteed – Stuff happens! How many Doctor's bills have we paid that didn't fix the problem? Ever get a refund for it?

  32. Chip Stevens says:

    Cheap. My 90 year old mother in law is the survivor of two WW ii veteran husbands. Couple of years ago, she was taken sick on a Friday night. The American taxpayer generously stepped up and paid $100,000 to helicopter her to a medical facility 25 miles away because the local VA hospital couldn't take the case. Thanks, folks.

  33. Two years ago, a friend staying at our house had a heart problem and collapsed. The ambulance found out that the local hospital emergency room was full, they took him to another hospital about ten miles away. I drove over, found out that I was the only English speaking person in a crowded waiting room. They ended up taking him to a third hospital to replace a valve in his heart. Luckily, he survived and he had excellent insurance. This is what is coming for all of us…the race to find a hospital who can treat us when we are sick or injured.

  34. Buckeye State says:

    The levies paid for by the citizens of the city, county, or township should fund those services. The EMTs, etc. get paid whether they go out on a call or not. What happens is the municipalities are sending these bills out hoping to get money from the person's insurance company, whether it is auto insurance in the case of a wreck or medical insurance in the case of a medical emergency. The person would turn the bill over to their insurance company, and the insurance company would in some cases pay a reduced rate, in other cases tell the municipality to pound sand. I imagine as with drug money and other property that is confiscated, the funds from the insurance company go to fund things like office parties, new gadgets, etc. that the fire and police departments wouldn't dare use taxpayer funds for for fear of backlash.

  35. Buckeye State says:

    Forgot to add that the local news here in Dayton did a story on this recently.

  36. There should be a reasonable expectation for expediency. Common sense dictates this. In emergencies, minutes matter a great deal. Shame on the EMT service for having so little foresight and not "bloat" their schedule accordingly.

  37. So now it has happened. The commie-gubmint unions are literally taking the pennies off of a dead man's eyes… always with their hands out. Do you think for a moment that any of them really care?

  38. Rather irresponsible (25%!) of firefighters to (fraudulently in most cases, I'll bet) call in sick for New Year's Eve.
    But, what do you expect from a town that re-elected (felon) Marion Berry? DC's a craphole and a den of thieves..

  39. No the reimbursement will be so low unless they think they can get a "tip" they won't pick you up. They will respond, they get paid for that.

  40. These types of stories will increase as cities and local governments cut back on budgets due to economic problems. But if government is not paying for the most fundamental services government was created to perform, I wonder where the remaining tax dollars are actually going. http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2013/02/25/

  41. Jeanne Stotler says:

    You pay taxes, local and state that are suppose to cover paid firemen, others are volunteers, there SHOULD not be another charge, independent ambulances is different, they bill Insurance companies or you if no Insurance.

  42. Jeanne Stotler says:

    And they have more than one firehouse in the whole District, District of Columbia is not more that 15 miles from border to border and they have and can call upon nearby, Virginia, and Maryland for assistance.