Members of a family from Utah mourning the loss of their 55-year-old father, who died of rage in November, now face a $ 50,000 hospital bill that they received for their prevention vaccinations. Gary Giles, who became the first person to die of rabies in that state since 1944, had contracted the disease in bats in the couple's home. About 25 family members, including his widow Juanita, visited Giles during his stay at the USI.
Juanita Giles told KSL-TV that she had been contacted two days after her death by the Utah Health Department, confirming that her husband had died of rabies and urging her to to be vaccinated preventively immediately. Giles claims that he was told not to worry about the cost.
But in the photos, she shared with KSL-TV, the family was charged $ 50,000 for vaccines, even after insurance.
"We are aware that this family has suffered a great deal," said the Utah Department of Health, in part in a statement to KSL-TV. "The situation they are in now is very unfortunate and we sympathize with them. We also want to support them. There are financial resources available from vaccine manufacturers and health care providers, and we have worked with the family to provide this information and to help guide them in the right direction. We are committed to continuing to work with the family to hopefully help them find a solution. "
At the time of her husband's death, Juanita Giles told the media that the couple had allowed the bats to rest on their hands and lick their fingers because they did not know they were infected with rabies. She said KSL-TV that they woke up to find the bats walking on the couple's bed.
But on October 19, Giles landed in the emergency room with severe back and neck pain, which turned to numbness and tingling in the arms, causing muscle spasms. He was transferred to Intermountain Medical Center, where he was placed in intensive care, intubated and sedated. He never recovered, post-mortem tests revealing that rabies was the cause of death.
The rabies vaccine should be given in four doses and should be started immediately after exposure. According to the CDC, additional doses are given on days 3, 7 and 14 after the first vaccination. No other family member has contracted the disease, which is spread by saliva, but Giles now wants the billing process to be changed for other families in similar circumstances.
"I know that they are trying to save lives, but if you make someone believe that there is help, you must also stick to it," she said at the conference. press.
In his statement, the Ministry of Health said that while preventive treatment saves lives and is very effective, it is unfortunately very expensive.
The statement also promised a commitment to work with the family to "hopefully help them find a solution through vaccine manufacturers and health care providers."