Doctors amputated Dr. Naveed Khan’s arm after injuries from an ATV crash along the Red River near Wichita Falls, Texas, and his case is a microcosm of the tension between insurance and air ambulance companies.
Khan is a 35-year-old radiologist who was enjoying an ATV ride with his friend when he tipped the vehicle and gashed his arm, according to KERA. They rushed to the United Regional Health Care System in Wichita Falls, but he needed to be treated at a trauma center as quickly as possible.
The severity of the injury required the medevac ride, according to Dr. Rajesh Gandhi, the medical director for trauma services at JPS Hospital. After eight operations and a $56,603 bill from Air Evac Lifeteam, Khan lost his arm. Initially, Khan’s insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield refused to pay any of the bill, but when Khan found that loss of limp was explicitly covered, they agreed to the $11,972 payment. All of that is via KERA.
Rick Sherlock, president of the Association of Air Medical Services, a trade group, told NPR that air ambulances need a more highly trained crew than normal ambulance, as only the sickest or most seriously injured patients need transport via helicopter.
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