A Perth soccer star who was punched in the head by a stranger and left permanently brain damaged by the attack has slammed debt collectors for threatening legal action over an unpaid ambulance bill. JFC.
One-punch survivor Danny Hodgson, 27, shared legal papers he received that gave him seven days notice to pay $1006. If he didn’t pay by that deadline, the letter said further action could be taken against him.
The owed money is in relation to an ambulance that was called after Hodgson was punched and left unconscious by a teenager unknown to him in 2021. He was induced into a coma and underwent two emergency surgeries for brain bleeding and skull fractures due to his injuries.
The unprovoked attack has left him “disabled with permanent brain damage” and in need of full-time care with “zero independence”.
“[I am] unable to work and unable to receive any disability money while I try my best to recover,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Where do they think I’m pulling the money from?”
Hodgson’s parents said they received previous notices for the fee but refused to pay it on principle.
They reckon victims of crimes shouldn’t have to foot the bill of their own assault, especially if they didn’t call the ambulance themselves.
“We did receive letters about this bill before and called numerous times to contest it, but they just kept saying the ambulance was for him, so it’s his bill,” Hodgson’s mum Nicola told WA Today.
“I told him not to pay, one, because he doesn’t have the money, two, he was a victim of crime and three, he didn’t call the ambulance, Perth Transport and the police did.
“We are hoping [WA Attorney General] John Quigley sees this and does something about victims being made to pay for ambulances in unprovoked attacks.”
Honestly, a good take! You’d think there’d be special provisions in cases like these, to help people pay for medical services they otherwise wouldn’t have had to. Ambulance services for actually life-threatening emergencies where a person may otherwise die should be free, or at least heavily subsidised.
Ambulances are not covered by Medicare in Australia. If you don’t have an ambulance subscription or private health insurance that covers emergency ambulances, you can find yourself having to pay quite a bit out of pocket due to a health emergency.
The rates vary from state to state, but to give you some perspective the call out fee alone can be anywhere from $300 to $1200. This isn’t including the extra amount of money you are charged per kilometre.
Queensland and Tasmania provide their residents with free ambulances. It’s wild that the rest of the country hasn’t caught up yet.
Being forced to pay $1000 for an ambulance bill after an attack that fundamentally altered your life seems kind of callous, hey? We should be working towards a society that supports victims of violence, not one that punishes them for surviving it.