A Texas man recently had the misfortune of being bitten by a rattle snake, but nothing would prepare him for what would come later. Although he sidestepped an amputation and even death, something else showed up at his front door a few weeks later – and to him, the horrifying sight was worse than the pain he’d previously suffered through.
According to Chron, the incident took place in Plano, Texas, where Hugh Sparks and his 26-year-old son Briet decided to go for a little hike. Walking along a major highway, the two were fascinated by all the snakes alongside the road and took quite a few pictures.
However, things would go horribly wrong when the two came across what Sparks thought was just a prairie rat snake. Believing it to be harmless, the man bent down and picked it up to pose for a quick picture – and that’s when it struck.
Just like that, Sparks threw the snake into the grass after realizing that the snake wasn’t quite as innocent as he initially thought. Without a moment’s notice, the man looked at his son, said, “That was a rattlesnake. You’re driving!”
Sure enough, the two made their way to the nearest hospital where Sparks was given his first dose of anti-venom – but things were far from over. Hospital staff soon informed the man that they didn’t have the proper facilities to treat him and would need to airlift him to a bigger hospital about 45 minutes away.
Although they tried to argue against it, saying it would cost too much, the family wasn’t given the option to do it any other way. Just like that, they loaded Sparks into the helicopter and flew him to Abilene where he was given additional anti-venom treatments and placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
While there, Sparks’ family was told that the man’s arm may need to be amputated to save his life, and even then, he still may not survive. Fortunately, none of that was the case and the snakebite victim ultimately recovered and was doing just fine – until a few weeks later when he got an unexpected surprise delivered to his doorstep.
As it turns out, the bill from the helicopter ride was delivered to his front door, and according to Sparks, it was more traumatic than the snakebite itself. In fact, you can imagine his horror to open the envelope and see that he owed a whopping $30,000 – and that was after his insurance had paid up.
Because Blue Cross Blue Shield settled the $127,199.18 hospital bill, the portion he had to pay was just $3,215.11.
“I was happy. I was paying them with a smile on my face. I was thinking, ‘Yes, you probably saved my life. I love you guys. I want to pay you. Then I got the helicopter bill and then, and then my mood changed,” he said.
Because the air ambulance bill, for the 47-mile trip to Abilene, was $43,514.56. Blue Cross Blue Shield agreed to pay $13,827.15. That left Sparks holding a bill for $29,687.41. [Source: WFAA]
Although the man is thankful that his life was spared, he doesn’t feel that the charges are justified, considering it was only a 45-minute flight, so he says he’s going to try to negotiate a lower outstanding balance. Sparks explains that the issue isn’t that he has to pay, it’s how much they charged for such a service.
“This makes my life difficult,” he said. “But this will ruin other people.”
Sparks’ misfortune just goes to show, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and if you’re unsure of something, it’s probably best to just stay away from it. After all, doing something silly like picking up a “harmless snake” could cost you a lot more in the long run – literally. As for the bill, it seems “affordable” healthcare has failed once again.