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My son went to Las Vegas with a friend in November 2017, and of course they were at a casino where their room was, but my son's friends forgot to register my son as well and they lost each other as they had been drinking.

So my son sat on the floor by his room as he could not get in and was just waiting for his friend to come up to the room. Someone called an ambulance and took him to some hospital and they did all these tests to him. When he told them he could not afford this as he was drunk they did all kinds of tests like a brain scan and spine scan and drug test and then sent a bill for about $12,000. The ambulance bill was like $1,160.00.

He did pay the ambulance bill and I am wondering why they didn't just take a blood test to see he was just drunk. I told him not to pay the bill as it was a last-minute decision. My son forgot to get the insurance but how could they not tell when someone had been drinking? If we don't pay this can he still go to the States or do I need to call the Canadian Embassy? Please let me know if anyone has had this issue before.

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Did your son have travel medical insurance? This is highly recommended for all US travelers from other countries. If so, the insurer may cover some of these expenses. There is a risk that the claim may not be covered since it was self-inflicted due to excessive drinking, but that will depend on the policy wording of your policy.

If he didn't buy insurance, then he'll be liable for these expenses. While he didn't call the ambulance, society generally does not want to discourage people from seeking medical intervention when people are in distress.

Your provincial health care plan may cover some of these expenses, but there may be significant restrictions, e.g. B.C. only covers $75/day (Cdn), Saskatchewan covers $100, etc. This will only cover a small part of the total bill.

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    It would be interesting to see what the legal aspects are around consent in these cases - if the person did not consent to the tests, and thus did not consent to the cost of those tests, then it should be fairly easy to have the debt declared invalid. – Moo Mar 15 '18 at 22:43
  • @Moo I think it would hinge around the reasonableness of the actions of the third party that called the ambulance. But since I think most societies want to encourage people to call for help, and not fear being liable for the expenses, I would think that the poster's son would be liable here. He was taken to a hospital so it seems almost certain that he was in some medical distress. – Jim MacKenzie Mar 15 '18 at 22:58
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    I dont disagree that we dont want to discourage calling ambulances, but for-profit hospitals have to take on the risk themselves when they decide to do barrage after barrage of expensive tests on a patient who has not consented. Simply being in the hospitals care should not be enough to legally permit the hospital to saddle the patient with significant debt - there should be a limit to liability here. But its all a symptom of a broken healthcare system imho. – Moo Mar 15 '18 at 23:14
  • @Moo Broken US health care system. Had the person had this happen in another Canadian province, he might have gotten a bill for a few hundred dollars at most... possibly even less. – Jim MacKenzie Mar 16 '18 at 0:03
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    @jwenting Canada has lawyers, too, and lacks this problem. :) It's the legal system that's the issue, not the lawyers per se. – Jim MacKenzie Jul 3 '18 at 14:38

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