John Clark Saves Child From Drowning, Receives Huge Medical Bill

08/03/2012 02:47 pm ET | Updated Aug 04, 2012

Sometimes good deeds do go unpunished. It might just take the help of a local TV report.

Last month, John Clark, 17, of Vancouver, Washington, heard the screams of a 12-year-old boy drowning off the Oregon coast, KOIN 6 reports. Rather than let the boy drown, Clark, who received his lifeguard certification just days before, swam out and saved him. What did Clark receive in return? A $2,600 medical bill, a lot of which was the result of a 15-mile ambulance ride after he reported a headache.

That bill is especially burdensome given that John's parents are just two of the nearly 800,000 people in Washington state without insurance today. Of those without insurance, roughly four-fifths reportedly avoid receiving proper medical treatment because of the costs involved.

Luckily for Clark, a local TV station ran a story on the incident, and viewers, in turn, called in to offer financial assistance.

Of course, American heroes have had to pay up for helping to save someone's life before. Until President Barack Obama signed the James Zodroga 9/11 Compensation Act last year, many of the first responders on September 11 received inadequate assistance for illnesses they obtained while performing their heroic acts, the New York Daily News reports.

Clark isn't the only "lifeguard" to be temporarily punished for a job well done either. Florida lifeguard Tomas Lopez was fired last month when he left his beach post to help a distressed swimmer. He was later offered his job back.

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