Amarpal Kaur was visiting her family when she suffered a broken leg, then Guillain-Barré syndrome. (Special to The News)

Amarpal Kaur was visiting her family when she suffered a broken leg, then Guillain-Barré syndrome. (Special to The News)

Indian mother’s hospital stay leaves Maple Ridge couple with massive medical bills

Family members will be left to cover up to $280,000 in medical costs

A Lower Mainland family has been left with crippling medical bills after their mother, visiting from India, needed medical care.

Tejinderdeep Jhajj of Maple Ridge and his sister Mandeep Buttar of Surrey have organized an online fundraiser, after they were left with up to $280,000 in medical bills.

Amarpal Kaur was visiting her family when she suffered a broken leg, explained her daughter-in-law Prabhjot Pandher. She suffered a fractured tibia that required surgery. The cost was approximately $25,000, but she had insurance that would cover the costs to a maximum of $100,000.

But two weeks after the surgery, she contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) – a disorder that caused her body’s immune system to attack her nerves.

The GBS left her suffering from paralysis, and her family in shock.

Amarpal was diagnosed in March, and spent two weeks in Surrey Memorial Hospital, including five days in the intensive care ward, because her condition was critical. She was unable to eat or move on her own.

As soon as possible, the family had their mother stabilized and flown back to her home in the Punjab. She is receiving therapy, and it may be a year before she fully regains her health, said Pandher.

But the family was left with medical bills that amount to $280,000, which are not covered by any levels of government. They have at best $100,000 worth of coverage through insurance, she said. They have submitted their bills for coverage, but have not yet received an answer from their insurer.

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Looking at the itemized bill from Fraser Health, it shows treatments with Privigen, which is used to treat immunodeficiency, and each of the five treatments ranges between $14,000 and $17,000. A stay in a critical care bed from March 17 to 21 is charged at $56,375. A standard medical stay bed totalled $36,000 for March 22 to 30. Two MRIs are listed at $2,100 each, four CT scans $1,900 each, and there is a long list of smaller charges.

They have a bill for $21,000 for the first stay, related to the broken leg, $256,000 for the second stay, plus specialist fees.

“We cannot afford this much payment in one go, so the hospital has suggested a payment plan,” said Pandher.

They are are hoping that a gofundme.com online fundraiser will raise some of the necessary funds.

The family has been getting some immediate support, and in the first 15 hours their fundraiser had brought in $10,000.

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