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Review underway after couple protests ambulance bill
Published Wednesday, December 1, 2010 6:09PM MST
The health minister confirms Alberta Health Services is reviewing a $400 bill that was sent to a local couple after an ambulance was called to treat them while they were already staying in an Edmonton hospital.
Erin Schmidt and Steven Leckie were in a room at the Royal Alexandra after the birth of their daughter. Leckie had suffered a diabetic seizure, but instead of taking the man down to the emergency room, hospital staff called an ambulance to take care of the situation.
"Pretty much ridiculous. You're in a hospital why would you expect staff to call an ambulance?" said Schmidt.
By the time paramedics arrived to the room, hospital staff had given Leckie a glucose pill. Paramedics then took him down to the emergency room where his blood was checked and then he was free to leave.
The couple then received a $400 bill even though Leckie never set foot inside an ambulance.
"I'm more than happy to pay it if it's a needed service but in this case I don't think it was a needed service," he said.
Alberta Health Services has admitted this case is not common and paramedics rarely respond to emergencies inside hospitals.
But AHS says there are times when this type of situation could occur and that it also depends on where in the hospital an emergency happens.
"They may not be prepared for the type of emergency that happened so they activate an emergency plan -- part of that plan is to call EMS or call other people," said Kevin O'Keefe, Alberta Health Services operations director.
The health minister confirmed Wednesday that Alberta Health Services is reviewing the incident.
"I know that Alberta Health Services is reviewing this situation and they're probably going to be reviewing their protocols as a result of that and I think they're probably going to be reviewing the invoice as well," said Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky.
The couple has already submitted a complaint and hopes the bill will be dropped.
The decision to drop the bill will be up to Alberta Health Services. CTV News was told it's likely the bill could be cut to about $250 because the patient was technically transported in an ambulance.
With files from Scott Roberts
Erin Schmidt and Steven Leckie sit down with CTV News on December 1, 2010.