Boston woman wounded by train refuses ambulance: 'I can't afford that'

By Ray Downs

July 4 (UPI) -- A woman got her leg stuck in a train platform in Boston last week and asked other passengers not to call the ambulance because she couldn't afford it.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was getting off the train when her foot landed in the gap between the train door and platform, causing her leg to slip through and get stuck. Video of the incident shows several people coming to her aid, either trying to pull her out or free her leg.


When the woman was finally freed from the gap, her leg was severed. Boston Globe reporter Maria Cramer described the woman's leg as "bloody and twisted." But the woman still refused an ambulance.

"Skin came off. She's in agony and weeping. Just as upsetting she begged no one call an ambulance. 'It's $3000,' she wailed. 'I can't afford that," Cramer tweeted.

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Ambulance costs vary depending on location and distance traveled, but news reports are full of stories of ambulances costing $2,700 for a 2-mile ride or $3,660 for a four-mile trip.

Passenger Marleny Polanco witnessed the incident and told CNN the woman appeared to be in serious pain and bone was exposed from her leg.


"She made it a point to say 'you don't understand, I have terrible insurance,'" Polanco said. "Everyone just kept saying don't worry about that, you need medical help."

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When Emergency Medical Technicians arrived, the woman agreed to the ambulance ride.

In an editorial, The New York Times said the woman's concern about the ambulance cost encapsulates the problem of healthcare in the United States.

"In the face of a grave injury, a series of calculations follow: The clear and urgent need for medical attention is weighed against the uncertain and potentially monumental expense of even basic services, like a bandage or a ride to the hospital, and that cost, in turn, weighed against all the known expenses of living that run through any given head on any given day," the editorial said. "This discord, between agony and arithmetic, has become America's story, too."

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