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California man who suffered serious injury in Guatemala says hospital won’t release him until $20G bill is fully paid…hmm, should American Hospitals adapt this policy?

A California school teacher won’t be allowed to leave a Guatemala hospital until he can pay off his full bill, which currently sits around $20,000.

Alex Austin was on vacation with friends in Guatemala in early January when he accidentally dove into shallow ocean water, breaking two vertebrae and pinching his spinal cord.

At a hospital five hours away, Austin underwent surgery and came out with “two titanium rods and a titanium mesh cylinder in place of his broken vertebrae and a palladium plate holding it all together,” his friend, Dillon Nicholson, wrote on GoFundMe.

While Austin rehabs, the medical bills have been piling up, his sister said, and the hospital won’t release him until his account is fully paid.

“Since the insurance can’t really do a lot right now, we are paying everything out of pocket,” Roxanne Austin told Fox 40.

As of Tuesday night, the GoFundMe had raised more than $21,000.

That morning, Austin was moved out of intensive care and to a new room, where he was able to feed himself and do limited walking.

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