Strangers donate to Alberta mom facing $30,000 bill after premature birth in Ontario
An Alberta mother says it's "unbelievable" that strangers have donated thousands of dollars to help pay the estimated $55,000 bill her family faces to head back to the province after the premature birth of her daughter in Ontario.
"I can't believe how much money's come in already in such a short time," Amy Savill told CTV Toronto.
The mother of two is trying to get back to Alberta, while struggling to pay a hefty air-ambulance bill. She was vacationing with her family in northern Ontario last month when she suddenly went into labour, two months before her expected due date.
Savill and her family rushed to a nearby hospital, but she was told that staff were not equipped to oversee a birth that premature. Instead, an air ambulance was arranged to take Savill from the hospital in Timmins to another facility in Sudbury, four hours away. Baby Amelia was delivered by C-section in Sudbury, weighing only three pounds.
The transport came at a cost of approximately $30,000. A representative of Ornge, the air ambulance service for the province of Ontario, told CTV Toronto that the cost of the helicopter, two pilots and two advanced care paramedics costs between $8,000 and $10,000 per hour.
"We recognize that each patient's financial circumstances are different, and on a case-by-case basis, we work with patients on mutually acceptable repayment terms," Ornge spokesperson James MacDonald told CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss.
Though Savill has yet to receive the invoice, she has been told that neither the Ontario nor Alberta governments will pick up the tab.
She said it never occurred to her that she would need medical travel insurance within Canada, and assumed that she would be covered under Alberta Health Services.
In addition to the hefty air-ambulance bill, Savill's young daughter is not strong enough to be released from hospital, so she and her son have been forced to stay in a hotel in Sudbury so they can be at the baby's side.
"You have to go day-by-day and get through it," Savill said.
Savill said she'd like to go back to Alberta, where she can be with the rest of her family, but a medical transport would cost approximately $55,000.
An Ontario charity group called Global Angel, is trying to raise $55,000 to cover the cost of further medical transportation to allow the family to return home to Alberta.
Savill said approximately $5,000 had been raised so far. She said strangers from Ontario and Alberta had made donations, while other money came from businesses in the family's home town of High Prairie, Alta.