Sudbury woman considers bankruptcy after racking up medical bills on U.S. trip

By: Jessica Mach on August 26, 2019

A woman from Sudbury, Ont. may file for bankruptcy after being mugged in Las Vegas and having her travel insurance company reject her hospital bill claims.

Sandra Cartledge traveled to Vegas on Halloween 2018, but the trip did not end well. “Through a series of unfortunate events, I was mugged, robbed of everything, all identity, all money, everything in Vegas, the day I was to leave,” she told CTV last week.

After a stay at a hospital to treat her injuries, Cartledge went to the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles to get a temporary passport, but was told that it would take up to five days to prepare. Because the lodgings she found in Los Angeles were expensive, she decided to travel to San Francisco, where she said she was able to secure a cheaper hotel room.

Cartledge went to the hospital two more times after falling. One fall left her in a coma for several days.

Allianz Global Assistance Canada, Cartledge’s travel insurance provider, was willing to cover the first hospital stay. But because the next two visits occurred outside of her coverage period, which spanned the days she had originally planned to be in Vegas, Allianz did not immediately agree to cover the costs — leaving Cartledge with about $100,000 in hospital bills.

Cartledge reached out to her local MP and MPP’s offices, which advised her to local insolvency firms. The firms told her that she could outwait the collection agencies and hope that they would stop calling. But Cartledge declined that option, citing stress.

“The problem I’m facing today is looking at declaring bankruptcy or losing whatever equity I can get on a quick sale out of my home,” she said.

Meanwhile, Cartledge’s insurance provider continues its investigation.

“We continue to review this file with our customer to identify the expenses that can be covered within the period for which the travel coverage was purchased,” said Allianz, in a statement. “We advise all travellers to review the terms and conditions of their policy and, in the event they require medical treatment, travellers should contact their insurance provider as soon as possible.”

Cartledge says doesn’t know what her next steps should be.

“I’ve worked all my working life. I’ve paid everybody. I’m beholden to no one and now this,” she said.