A Plano man is on the hook for nearly $30,000 for an emergency medical helicopter ride he didn’t want.
Hugh Sparks, 65, is still trying to figure out why he must pay so much money for an Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter ride he claims he was forced to take after suffering a snake bite in June.
The bite occurred while on a road trip to the Alamo 7 Solar Project in Haskell with his 26-year-old son Briet. The pair had stopped to take photos of some snakes on the road when a rattlesnake bit Sparks’ right hand.
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Sparks was driven to the hospital in Haskell where he was administered two vials of anti-venom.
"When I went in, they had summoned the air vac life team because it could be a life threatening injury," Sparks told Chron.com. "I didn’t request a helicopter and didn’t want to ride in a helicopter. I didn’t want to ride in a helicopter because it was too expensive."
Sparks, who once owned a gymnastics gym in Carrollton, claims he told the hospital staff and his son numerous times that he did not want a helicopter ride to a hospital in Abilene and instead wanted to be driven by car. A doctor at the Haskell hospital would not let him sign a medical release form, thus forcing him into the helicopter, Sparks said.
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A few weeks after the bite, Sparks, who suffers from arthritic fingers and back issues, received a bill from the helicopter company for $43,514, of which his insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield would only cover $13,827.
A request for comment has been placed with Air Evac Lifeteam and the hospital in Haskell.
"I resented that I wasn’t in control of my own fate," Sparks said. "I was at a disadvantage because I was under duress and when I’m under duress, the predators came in. Not the doctors, not the hospital; air vac saw their opportunity."