Edmonton woman facing huge medical bill after being hit by bus in Peru
A young Edmonton woman who was struck by a bus in Peru has learned she was not covered by the travel insurance she thought she had, and is now on the hook for $100,000 in medical expenses.
Samantha Sech, 19, was on a trip of a lifetime, travelling and doing volunteer work throughout South America for more than a year. In early June, she met up with her sister Alice in Lima, Peru, where the tragedy struck.
While the sisters were crossing a busy road at a marked crosswalk, a bus turned a corner into their path.
“I realized he was driving was too fast and he wasn't going to stop for us,” remembers Alice, who pulled her sister out of the way.
“I'm positive that my sister saved my life,” Samantha says.
But the bus still knocked Samantha down, pinning her leg under one of its wheelsand crushing it. Samantha says she doesn’t remember feeling any pain, at first.
“I was in shock so I didn’t feel anything yet. But after the bus rolled off and I had to wait for the ambulance, it was the most excruciating pain,” she said.
After Samantha was rushed to hospital, Alice called her sister's travel insurance provider to report the accident. She was shocked to find out her sister’s coverage had expired.
“We were under the impression it would last for the duration of my travel,” Samantha says.
The Sechs say there was some kind of communication error concerning Samantha’s medical coverage, which they are still trying to understand.
Samantha required several surgeries before flying home in a medivac plane last month. Now, she and her family are facing a massive medical bill.
“To think that my parents -- or me -- will have to spend years paying off such an unfortunate situation,” she says, trailing off.
To help pay some of the bill, earlier this month the family set up an online fundraising page, which has raised close to $20,000 so far.
“My heart is filled with so much gratitude for the people that have donated or shared and spread awareness of our cause,” Samantha told CTV News Channel on Thursday.
Samantha will be able to keep her leg but doctors say she has a long road to recovery ahead of her.
“We're optimistic that I'm going to walk so that's so wonderful,” she says.
As for the bus driver involved in the accident, he has been charged. The bus company he had been driving for was also banned from operating in Lima for 60 days.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story suggested that Paull Travel was involved in the sale of travel insurance to Ms. Sech. This was an inadvertent typographical error and in fact no one from the travel agency was involved in any way. We apologize to Lesley Paull and Paull Travel for any misunderstanding this may have caused.
With a report from CTV Edmonton’s Carmen Leibel