Woman begging people not to call ambulance gains national attention

A Massachusetts woman is drawing attention for begging people not to call an ambulance for fear of high hospital costs after she was injured in a subway accident.

Video of the woman from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police (MBTA) Police Department went viral over the weekend. It shows her in apparent agony after her leg was caught in a gap between a train and the platform on Friday.

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The 45-year-old woman, whose name has not been released, asked fellow passengers who came to her aid to not call the ambulance. “Do you know how much an ambulance costs?” the injured woman asked one passenger.

The story first picked up traction on Twitter when a Boston Globe reporter posted about the incident after witnessing the aftermath of the accident on Friday. 

The story picked up more traction when The New York Times editorial board wrote about the platform accident on Monday with the headline: “This Tweet Captures the State of Health Care in America Today.” 

“In the face of a grave injury, a series of calculations follow: The clear and urgent need for medical attention is weighed against the uncertain and potentially monumental expense of even basic services, like a bandage or a ride to the hospital, and that cost, in turn, weighed against all the known expenses of living that run through any given head on any given day,” the editorial board wrote. “This discord, between agony and arithmetic, has become America’s story, too.”

According to a police report obtained by the Globe, the woman was eventually taken to the hospital shortly after the incident where it was determined she did not suffer any broken bones but did suffer a “serious laceration, exposing the bone,” and would need surgery. 

The chief of Boston EMS, Jim Hooley, told the publication the cost of an ambulance transporting people within the city is between $1,200 to $1,900.

“We just worry about taking care of people,” Hooley said. “We don’t want to cause them more stress. We just want to reassure them that nothing bad is going to happen to them because of their inability to pay.”