Texas man who was left paralyzed after being struck by WAVE on Mexico beach says doctors at hospital demanded RANSOM money in exchange for life-saving surgery

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Written By Maya Cantina

A Texas man claims he and his boyfriend were extorted by a hospital in Tulum, where his partner underwent surgery after he was paralyzed in a surfing accident.

Justin Raiford and his boyfriend Jared Hill were vacationing in the Mexican resort city in February when a wave slammed Hill into the sand and fractured three vertebrae in his neck.

Despite having traveler’s insurance, Raiford claimed the hospital staff asked for thousands of dollars to be paid up front before admitting him into the medical facility and performing surgery.

He never felt that a country visited by millions of Americans would turn their back on them.

‘Tulum is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in and to have a life-threatening critical situation, you cannot get help even from the government,’ Raiford said. ‘I called the embassy and the consulate, they said, ‘sorry, that’s how it is in Mexico.

Jared Hill, pictured in the hospital, was paralyzed after he was struck by a wave while body surfing on vacation in Tulum, Mexico in February

Jared Hill (pictured) was charged $5,000 to be admitted to a hospital in Tulum and $20,000 by a third medical facility, where he had surgery after fracturing three vertebrae in his neck

Jared Hill (pictured) was charged $5,000 to be admitted to a hospital in Tulum and $20,000 by a third medical facility, where he had surgery after fracturing three vertebrae in his neck 

Justin Raiford claims medical facilities in the Mexican resort city of Tulum extorted them by charging thousands of dollars up front to provide emergency service to his his boyfriend, who was paralyzed in a surfing accident in February. Raiford said they had to pay $5,000 for one hospital to admit his partner and more than $20,000 for surgery another facility

Justin Raiford claims medical facilities in the Mexican resort city of Tulum extorted them by charging thousands of dollars up front to provide emergency service to his his boyfriend, who was paralyzed in a surfing accident in February. Raiford said they had to pay $5,000 for one hospital to admit his partner and more than $20,000 for surgery another facility

‘To be held for ransom, to have life-saving surgery, that the neurosurgeon said needed or he was going to die,’ he told NewsNation. ‘That you’re in a hospital with people that you think they’re there to help you and save lives and it wasn’t happening.’ 

In order to get Hill into the hospital, Raiford had to pay $5,000 before tests showed Hill was bleeding internally, had a punctured spinal cord and nerve damage.

Matters worsened when Hill showed Raiford a text message in which the hospital director said: ‘I am going to cancel the surgery, get money out of him.’

Raiford claimed an American woman celebrating her honeymoon was told by staffers at the same hospital that she would have to pay $50,000 in advance to put her husband on dialysis ‘because his kidneys and heart were shutting down.’

Eventually, the 12-hour surgery took place two days later at a third hospital where Raiford and Hill paid more than $20,000 to cover the cost of the procedure. 

‘You can’t imagine in situations like this, every ounce of me was just trying to save his life and get help and to think in a time of such critical necessity for medical help that could even come up, and I am not talking about a co-pay or insurance or any of that, it’s literally ransom money.’

In order to get Hill into the hospital, Raiford (pictured with his partner before the ordeal) had to pay $5,000 before tests showed Hill was bleeding internally, had a punctured spinal cord and nerve damage

In order to get Hill into the hospital, Raiford (pictured with his partner before the ordeal) had to pay $5,000 before tests showed Hill was bleeding internally, had a punctured spinal cord and nerve damage

Justin Raiford (right) saw Jared Hill (left)  in the water after the wave crashed down, shoving him into the sand and shattering three vertebrae in his neck

Justin Raiford (right) saw Jared Hill (left)  in the water after the wave crashed down, shoving him into the sand and shattering three vertebrae in his neck

Jared Hill, pictured with his care team, was flown to Memorial Hermann Medical Center in Houston nearly a week after his surfing accident in Tulum

Jared Hill, pictured with his care team, was flown to Memorial Hermann Medical Center in Houston nearly a week after his surfing accident in Tulum

Hill was flown back to Houston almost a week after the operation and admitted at Memorial Hermann Medical Center in Houston, where the couple learned that he would need another spinal surgery and would likely be hospitalized for several months.

He received treatment for blood clots and meningitis, but is now recovering.

‘The people here have changed his life dramatically and I am happy to say he is one of the edge cases that most people don’t have the outcome that he has,’ Raiford said. 

‘He is regaining some mobility and working with occupational and physical therapists everyday to try to improve his chances of recovery.’

While Raiford feels that the Tulum hospital took advantage of Hill’s tragedy, the Tulum private medical facility did not do anything illegal is requesting advance payment, according to Tracy Walder, a former CIA and FBI agent.

Eligible residents and citizens receive free health care through the Mexican Institute of Social Security. 

‘This isn’t extortion. This isn’t bribery. This is how Mexico does business,’ Walder told NewsNation.

‘However, there are private hospitals. The way that they do business is they do ask for payment up front.’

TexasMexico

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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