A BRITISH couple have a huge medical bill for hospital care, despite being fully covered by their private health insurance company.
The expats have been slapped with a debt of €14,000 because of the company’s negligence.
Dawn Bridge, a 50-year-old writer, originally from Cheshire, suffered a bad fall in her hometown of Mazarron, Murcia, in December 2021.
Husband Adrian, an academic, immediately went to call the number on his private insurance medical card, believing emergency staff would be on call to deal with it.
However, after a whole NINE MINUTES of waiting – while Dawn screamed in agony – the 59-year-old still had no answer.
Eventually he was persuaded to call an ambulance by a concerned neighbour and a local emergency service turned up ‘within minutes’.
She was soon receiving emergency treatment for two bad fractures at Cartagena’s public hospital Dawn to St Lucia.
She also had to have a dislocated ankle put back into place.
But, in reality, her problems had only just begun, as despite paying two premiums for a policy that promised ‘immediate access to care’ and ‘no copayments’ the opposite occurred.
Indeed, on leaving St Lucia Hospital, some days later, they were handed a medical bill of €14,000 which their insurance company REFUSED to pay.
The main reason given, because Dawn was treated in ‘the wrong hospital’.
“Yet during that week, I received no advice in transferring her to a hospital recognised by our insurance company,” slammed Adrian, a former history lecturer at York University.
“We had no help in providing additional care, no communication and no explanation why our emergency call wasn’t answered.”
And over the last half year, he claims they have received ‘not an ounce’ of concern or compassion regarding their plight.
This despite Dawn still being heavily dependent on a wheelchair for mobility and having to endure intensive physiotherapy sessions.
A remarkable email stream, the Olive Press has seen, demanded if the couple could ‘prove the [emergency] call’, and also questioned if they had even rung the right number.
“We both feel totally abandoned, and lost within a spiral of confusion, bureaucracy and data protection,” continued Adrian.
“If only they’d answered their own emergency number (and we’d gone to an appropriate hospital), my wife would have been treated properly, in a timely manner AND without these costs.”
Thankfully, the Cartagena Hospital has been gracious enough to offer the Bridges a staged payment scheme which eases the financial burden.
In the meantime, they hope their experience might save others from the same pain, cost and anxiety.
“It’s the principle,” insisted Adrian, “they’ve just washed their hands of us, all down to their own terrible service when we needed them most.”
The Olive Press has continually tried to contact the company with no luck.
A spokesperson from St Lucia de Cartagena said to the Olive Press “When the insurance company does not cover the services provided or the patient is not registered in the Seguridad Social, we require them to pay the bill.”
The couple paid €1,300-€1,400 a year for their insurance health bill.
On deadline the Olive Press received a letter from the insurance company’s lawyer saying that the company had acted ‘in strict and rigorous compliance with the terms of the policy’.
It also claimed that the company had also more than met its obligations and threatened the Olive Press with legal action if a ‘malicious’ article was published.
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