Quebec couple hit with $90,000 bill after harrowing birth in dominican republic

AlterEgo

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She traveled way past when it's safe to fly pregnant, and now looks for sympathy.

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QUEBEC COUPLE HIT WITH $90,000 BILL AFTER HARROWING BIRTH IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

CAMILLE LAURIN-DESJARDINS | QMI AGENCY

MONTREAL - A sunshine sojourn became a financial nightmare for a young Montreal-area couple whose daughter's premature birth in the Dominican Republic cost $90,000.

"We knew that having a girl would be expensive, but not that expensive," Valerie Gelinas, 29, quipped while cradling her month-old daughter at their home in Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Quebec.

She and her partner, Jean-Francois Bussiere-Bourdages, booked five days in the Dominican with their 18-month-old toddler in mid-December. Gelinas was 33 weeks pregnant.

The day after they landed, Gelinas began to have contractions. They went to a clinic and had an ultrasound.

"Everyone spoke Spanish, and no one answered my questions...I panicked," Gelinas said.

Then her water broke and the doctor ordered her to a hospital in Santo Domingo, three hours away.

"We had to pay US$20,000 before they agreed to call an ambulance," the baby's father said.

They made the three-hour drive and were shocked when they arrived.

"We were in a kind of basement, it really didn't look like a hospital," Gelinas recalled. "I was afraid I'd been caught in organ trafficking!"

She had a C-section the next morning, Dec. 15. Her baby girl, Oceane, weighed 5 lbs. and was immediately placed in an incubator.

"They told us she should stay at least a month before flying," Bussiere-Bourdages said.

He instead called a Montreal air-ambulance service and received terrifying news.

"When we contacted Sky Service, they advised us to come back as soon as possible, that (Oceane's) life could be in danger," he said.

The parents only hugged their girl for the first time when they arrived back in Montreal. Now they're trying to get the Quebec health system to reimburse them for their Caribbean nightmare.

Their bill is $90,000, including $40,000 for the air ambulance.

"We're not rich," Bussiere-Bourdages said. "We borrowed left and right, we're in debt."

But he can see the silver lining.

"At least...our baby is healthy."

Sun News : Quebec couple hit with $90,000 bill after harrowing birth in Dominican Republic
 

chic

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Nov 20, 2013
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foolish people....traveling on a plane when your baby is due very soon....What were they thinking?
 

AlterEgo

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Too much unsubstanciated costs.
This story has a huge problem.
I ain't buying in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
cccccccccccccccccccc
The numbers sound ridiculous - I can't help wondering if the hospital bill is pesos instead of dollars. And $20,000USD for an ambulance from Bavaro to SD? Just doesn't sound right.

Most docs say not to fly after 7 months, what was she thinking???

I do believe the $40K for an air ambulance, they're ridiculously expensive.
 

tink23

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Jul 15, 2008
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They're ridiculous for flying when 33 weeks pregnant and with a toddler. Why should the Quebec government have to pay for that stupid choice???
 

dv8

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Sep 27, 2006
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90k pesos is about a regular dominican price for a c-section in a provincial hospital. no hospital in SD will charge a gringo this little.
 

caribmike

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Jul 9, 2009
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They maybe wanted to save expenses for travel insurance. Don't forget, they are from Quebec ;)
 

tink23

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Jul 15, 2008
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I doubt travel insurance would cover the cost of a birth, let alone one with complications, if insurance was purchased at 33 weeks pregnant. They made a really stupid choice and now they're paying for it.
 

redserge

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Jan 30, 2011
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The fault lies with them, they screwed up and they will have to pay for it. Even if they bought travel insurance 33 weeks pregnant nullifies the contract.
 

mobrouser

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Jan 1, 2002
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foolish people....traveling on a plane when your baby is due very soon....What were they thinking?
Most docs say not to fly after 7 months, what was she thinking???
They're ridiculous for flying when 33 weeks pregnant and with a toddler.
The "restrictions" on flying while pregnant are not as strict as you think. Most Canadian airlines want a letter from the mother's physician after the 35th week of pregnancy, and most don't allow passengers in their 39th/40th week. However, I believe most travel insurance plans won't cover travel after the 31st week and coverage in that time is only for the mother's care, not the infant. I know I certainly pushed the limit of travel insurance when pregnant with the mobsters, as do many other moms to be, with no problems.

But the mother in this case was well past the limits and should not be expecting the province to pay.

:classic: mob
 

Bred

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Aug 13, 2006
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90k pesos is about a regular dominican price for a c-section in a provincial hospital. no hospital in SD will charge a gringo this little.
Not clear from the article if it was Pesos or Dollars.
 

sosuamatt

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Jul 29, 2013
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Bad choices sometimes lead to bad outcomes. I always have a problem with people who look to others (usually the government) to bail them out from difficulties arising from bad decisions. I feel sorry for the circumstance they find themselves in but
they made this bed.
 

Marcion

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Nov 22, 2014
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$40K for the air ambulance to Canada is a bargain -- those are fren prices...the rest, I wasn't there no comment. But all things considered it could have been worse.

Go in peace.
 

Michael Christopher

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Mar 18, 2014
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It might be in pesos (I hope) that sounds like US prices! Yikes!
If is true, how can that be possible? I'm going to the DR for some medical tourism and it's half what I would pay in the US.
 
May 29, 2006
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I'm very sorry for their financial issues regarding the "unexpected" birth of their infant daughter...actually 5 lbs is a pretty good weight for a 33 week pregnancy...the kid probably would have been over 10 lbs at term and she would have needed a c-section, anyway! The same thing happened to another Canadian couple, but in Hawaii a couple of months ago...only their bill there was for $250,000 US for a similar scenario. I was an obstetrical care provider for over 35 years and NEVER would I sign a travel letter for anyone over 28 weeks gestation. The risks and COSTS are just too high!
Sounds like some doctor is gonna get sued..
 

ctrob

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Nov 9, 2006
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It might be in pesos (I hope) that sounds like US prices! Yikes!
If is true, how can that be possible? I'm going to the DR for some medical tourism and it's half what I would pay in the US.
Sure, but you're going to get a price before you go under the knife. You're not going to run in and say fix and bill me whatever you want.

My first kid in the states cost close to 100k usd. And no air taxi involved. No negotiating, just make him live.
28 years later 5 stitches at CMC cost me 20 usd with a Dominicana negotiating on my behalf. Life's funny that way.
 

jojo2130

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May 30, 2005
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Yes those are tourist prices, We had our child at CMC 4 years ago and at the time were caught with our pants down on wife's insurance and didnt have insurance to cover the pregnancy yet and only cost RD$65,000 (PESOS) C Section , 4 days inside Private room. Hard to believe they had to pay almost 4 Million $RD. Something stinks in that story !
 

Bob K

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Aug 16, 2004
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This is being posted on every board possible.

My BS meter is off the wall on this one. I think they are scamming to get some money from the Quebec government.

Bob K
 

Conchman

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Jul 3, 2002
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Maybe the bill was in pesos and they thought it was dollars. Then, once they started paying in dollars the guys on the receiving end thought to themselves, well let em go ahead. Who is gonna tell em its only pesos? Many tourists don't know what the "RD" stands for before the '$' sign.

Or they saw an opportunity are to scam the insurance or government with the '$' sign, claiming it was dollars.