Health & Fitness

U.S. citizen billed $1.7 million by government for life-saving burn treatment: “Completely hopeless”

An American citizen found himself with a hefty medical bill totaling nearly $2 million from the U.S. authorities, after he spent seven months at a Texas navy hospital recovering from life-threatening accidents.

“I by no means anticipated, by no means in my life to reside by one thing like this,” Puerto Rican resident Alexis Hernandez instructed CBS Information’ Anna Werner. “I by no means imagined that I must reside by such ache.”

In January of 2019, Hernandez arrived in Guadalajara, Mexico to start out discovering out to be a doctor. He was 23 on the time.

“I’ve been working actually laborious all my life to make this actual,” he talked about, together with it was his dream to verify medicine.

Simply two days after he arrived, Hernandez talked about he went to activate a boiler to get scorching water for his bathe. Then the explosion occurred.

“The flames have been all around the residence and the constructing. And I needed to run by the flames within the residence in search of a approach out. In the long run, I nearly misplaced my life,” he recounted.

Hernandez’s restoration consisted of 19 surgical procedures and tons of of hours of bodily treatment. 

Hernandez family

Rescuers saved him and took him to a Mexican hospital, nonetheless his excessive burns required specialised care. As a U.S. citizen, Hernandez was then flown to one amongst America’s premier burn services — the U.S. Military’s Institute of Surgical Analysis in San Antonio, Texas.

His bodily treatment assistant Kelly Brown talked about the burns had been over “an enormous share” of Hernandez’s physique.

“There was just a few locations that weren’t burned,” he talked about. 

Even with therapy, he was in all probability in good ache, Brown talked about. One of many one places not burned had been the soles of his ft. 

Hernandez’s restoration consisted of 19 surgical procedures and tons of of hours of bodily treatment. 

“I begin from zero once more, I discover ways to stroll, the way to eat, the way to breathe, the way to see, the way to gown myself, the way to do the whole lot once more,” he talked about. 

Brown praised Hernandez as a “very decided younger man.”

“He’s been by extra ache than any human ought to need to cope with,” he talked about. “And he fought by it, he all the time wished to get higher, and he would all the time give it his greatest effort after which some.”

“He’s been by extra ache than any human ought to need to cope with,” Hernandez’s bodily treatment assistant Kelly Brown talked about.

Hernandez family

Hernandez talked about the day he flew home to Puerto Rico seven months later was “wonderful.”

“To see how comfortable they have been, it was a extremely particular second for me,” he talked about, visibly emotional.

However when he obtained home, Hernandez found his medical medical insurance firm — insurance coverage protection provided by the use of his father’s job as a policeman — had denied payment for his medical payments. 

His father, Jamie Hernandez, talked about the corporate now refused to pay the declare, telling him it was on account of the accident occurred in Mexico. 

The U.S. authorities then despatched him a bill claiming he owed $1.7 million to the U.S. Treasury — an amount they even instructed he might pay by check or by phone.

Hernandez talked about he felt “fully hopeless” when he seen the letter.

His native advisor despatched letters to the Treasury and Protection Departments, along with then-Lawyer Common William Barr, asking that the debt be forgiven. There was no response.

Now Hernandez is attempting to maneuver on, no matter owing that so much cash.

Requested what retains him determined and driving forward, Hernandez talked about he felt like he acquired a “second likelihood” at life.

“I really feel lucky. I’m grateful that I can see the sunshine of the day, each day,” he talked about. “Not everybody has a second likelihood. I’m not going to waste it.”

He must make use of that second chance, he talked about, to help others. Hernandez plans to return to medical college and ultimately develop right into a doctor, if the debt doesn’t stand in the easiest way. 

“I’m working so laborious to return to highschool. Perhaps with this, I’m not going to have the ability to return,” he anxious.

Hernandez’s insurance coverage protection firm, First Medical, wouldn’t contact upon his case no matter a variety of inquiries from CBS Information. The U.S. Departments of Treasury, Protection and Justice moreover didn’t comment.

Alexis Hernandez, within the meantime, had two additional surgical procedures this yr and faces additional months of bodily rehabilitation. 

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