Orlando club shooting: Survivors’ medical bills waived


Source: BBC

Hospitals in the US city of Orlando say they will not charge for treatment provided to survivors of the Pulse nightclub massacre in which 49 people were killed by a gunman in June.

They say they will write off about $5.5m (£4.2m) in medical care expenses.

After the attack by Omar Mateen on 12 June, 53 people needed immediate medical attention.

The so-called Islamic State group has said it was behind the attack, but the extent of its involvement is not clear.

Mateen, 29, was shot dead by police after what was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

Of the 53 people injured, 44 were treated at the Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC), managed by Orlando Health. None will be charged for their medical expenses, the company said.

Seven-year-old Mekiha Thomas of Orlando signs one of the 49 crosses at a makeshift memorial outside Orlando Regional Medical Center (19 June 2016)Image copyrightAP
Image captionForty-nine crosses in honour of the victims were placed outside the Orlando Regional Medical Center

Likewise, the families of nine Pulse nightclub patients who died shortly after arriving at ORMC will also not be charged.

“The Pulse shooting was a horrendous tragedy for the victims, their families and our entire community,” Orlando Health President and CEO David Strong was quoted by the Orlando Sentinel as saying.

“During this very trying time, many organisations, individuals and charities have reached out to Orlando Health to show their support. This is simply our way of paying that kindness forward.”

Orlando Health officials say that some bills will be sent to health insurers for patients who had cover, but whatever injuries that are uncovered by those policies will be absorbed by the hospital chain.

However, officials at Florida Hospital, where other injured club-goers were treated, say that they will not even bill the victims’ insurance companies for the treatment.

One uninsured victim who was hit by a bullet in the attack told the Orlando Sentinel that it was a huge relief not to have to worry about a potential $20,000 (£15,000) bill.

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Categories: America, USA

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