Jim Holt, a Canadian military veteran, went to the hospital because doctors in Argentina told him he had broken vertebrae, but was later told by the Ottawa Hospital that the fracture was a result of Stage 4 cancer. His required care resulted in a $61,000 medical bill that the 79-year-old believed he would have to pass on to his family.
On Friday, Holt’s daughter, Caroline, told the Ottawa Citizen that she received an email from the hospital’s vice president of finance, Nathalie Cadieux. He wrote to them that neither the veteran or his family will be “responsible for any debt to the Ottawa Hospital as a result of his recent care.”
Cadieux also apologized “for the undue stress and concern” the ordeal has caused the family.
The news brought the vet to tears. He said that he feels “something good has been done.” “Finally someone said ‘we can’t do this’, so it’s justice.”
The stress consumed the 79-year-old veteran, with the fear that because of the hefty bill, his wife would be left with nothing. The hospital’s act of kindness to waive the fee lifted the enormous burden off of the entire family and allows them to cherish Holt’s time left with his family.
— Ottawa Citizen (@OttawaCitizen) February 7, 2015
Holt served 28 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a lieutenant colonel and then spent an additional 20 years as a foreign affairs officer. He moved back to Canada with his wife after spending 12 years in Italy and Argentina to receive treatment at the Ottawa Hospital.
Since he lived in foreign countries, when he tried applying for Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP), the 3-month wait period did not cover his time in the hospital from December to this past Friday in February. However, the hospital said that they would work with Holt’s insurance to make sure the bill is covered.