Welcome to America: Where the pain of crippling debt from medical bills exceeds the visceral, searing pain of a literally crippling injury.
This stark epiphany brought to you by Maria Cramer, a reporter at the Boston Globe. Last Friday, Cramer encountered a woman during her commute whose leg slipped into the gap between the train and the platform, where it was pinned, twisted and bloodied.
Despite being in agony, the 45-year-old woman, whose name hasn’t been released, begged bystanders who came to her aid not to call an ambulance ― because she couldn’t afford it:
Video of the incident released by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shows the chaotic scene as fellow passengers gathered to push the train off the woman’s leg. They succeeded in freeing the woman after a couple of coordinated heaves.
MBTA officials told the Boston Globe that the gap between the platform and the train is 5 inches.
“When I saw her sitting on the platform, she was shaking, crying, in terrible pain and very scared about what this injury would do to her financially,” Cramer tweeted after the incident.
According to a police report, the woman suffered a “serious laceration, exposing the bone” on her left thigh. A Boston EMS ambulance took her to Boston Medical Center for surgery.
Boston EMS Chief Jim Hooley told the Boston Globe the service’s most urgent transport costs for patients typically run between $1,200 and $1,900. But ambulance trips in general can soar higher. A Washington Post investigation in 2017 found bills nationwide vary greatly depending on the company that responds, in some cases exceeding $8,400.