An Atlanta couple’s dream cruise vacation turned into a complete nightmare when Tori Austin’s fiancée suffered a serious medical emergency onboard the ship.
According to NBC News, Austin’s fiancée, Stephen Johnson, was rushed to a private hospital in Progreso, Mexico, over a week ago in critical condition after medics aboard a cruise ship diagnosed him with pancreatitis, diabetes and a kidney infection that required dialysis.
A hospital administrator said Johnson was “near death,” when he was checked into the hospital, Centro Médico Americano, on Nov. 14.
“He suffered kidney failure and is currently undergoing dialysis,” the administrator said.
After undergoing an endoscopy, dialysis, three days of intensive care and many other medical procedures, Johnson’s medical bill totaled over $14,000, Austin said.
Centro Médico Americano, like other private hospitals in Mexico, has a policy requiring that all medical bills be paid at the time of discharge because they don’t have a system to bill patients after they’ve been released, said the administrator. The hospital generally helps patients figure out how to pay the bill through credit cards or money transfers if they don’t have travel insurance.
The couple only learned of the policy on Tuesday when they tried to leave the hospital to return home but they were informed they had to pay the bill first, Austin told NBC News.
Austin together with Johnson’s sister created a GoFundMe page to raise the money needed to cover the cost. Film mogul Tyler Perry saw a news report on the couple’s dilemma and sent a payment to cover the bill, which by then was over $16,000, sources told NBC News.
Perry also offered to cover the couple’s travel expenses to return to Atlanta after the hospital says Johnson is healthy enough to leave.
While Austin hopes that the hospital discharges her fiancée on Sunday since he’s doing “a lot better,” Centro Médico Americano has said that Johnson might not be discharged for at least a couple of days more since he is still undergoing procedures and should not yet be traveling in his fragile condition.