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GoFundMe for NZ woman Amanda Couchman faces $211k bill from US hospital

Tourist who left for life in US when dream vacation turned into nightmare, takes another devastating blow – and now she needs YOUR help

  • A woman struggles with a $211k bill after being rushed to a US hospital
  • Amanda Couchman was admitted to the ICU in LA and received life support
  • She recovered and returned to New Zealand, but has a bill of $147,595 to pay

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A tourist who nearly died after being admitted to a US hospital from severe pneumonia has been billed more than $200,000.

Amanda Couchman, from New Zealand, was rushed to an emergency room in Los Angeles on July 1 after suffering from shortness of breath.

She was immediately placed on a ventilator, with doctors quickly diagnosing pneumococcal pneumonia.

The infection led to hypoxemic respiratory failure, several blood infections, and fluid in her lungs.

Mrs. Couchman was visiting LA for her cousin’s wedding, but spent the special day in a hospital bed.

She survived and returned to New Zealand – where she was billed $147,595 ($A211,000).

Amanda Couchman (pictured) was taken to a hospital in Los Angeles on July 1 after experiencing shortness of breath.  She was placed in the ICU and on a ventilator with doctors who quickly diagnosed pneumococcal pneumonia

Amanda Couchman (pictured) was taken to a hospital in Los Angeles on July 1 after experiencing shortness of breath. She was placed in the ICU and on a ventilator with doctors who quickly diagnosed pneumococcal pneumonia

She was visiting LA for her cousin's wedding and returned to New Zealand with a huge medical bill of nearly $150,000 (pictured)

She was visiting LA for her cousin's wedding and returned to New Zealand with a huge medical bill of nearly $150,000 (pictured)

She was visiting LA for her cousin’s wedding and returned to New Zealand with a huge medical bill of nearly $150,000 (pictured)

WHAT IS PNEUCOCOCCAL PNEUMONIA?

Pneumococcal pneumonia is caused by bacteria that live in the upper respiratory tract and can spread to others through coughing or close contact.

Symptoms may include:

– fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, confusion, increased sensitivity to light, joint pain, chills, earache, insomnia and irritability

In severe cases, pneumococcal pneumonia can cause hearing loss, brain damage and death

Her brother Shane Tuala founded a GoFundMe page for his sister to help her clear the huge bill.

“If anyone knows Amanda, you know she has a heart of gold and is loved by many,” Tuala wrote on the fundraiser page.

“Any donation, no matter how large, would greatly help us cover Amanda’s medical expenses and we would be eternally grateful for any support we receive.”

The GoFundMe, started Monday by Mr. Tuala, has raised more than $13,000.

On Facebook, Amanda said it was time to “be a little vulnerable” and ask for help.

“It was certainly the biggest challenge of my life and while the roller coaster has slowed down, (praise sir) there are still a few hurdles ahead,” she wrote.

“One is this very, very large number that is now my medical debt.

“I hope my payments to the hospital, which I may have to make for a while, can help honor, thank and reward the many, many great specialists, doctors and nurses who have saved my life and who (to be honest) my mental health, because they were my temporary family in a very strange and sometimes very lonely place.’

Amanda said it was difficult to ask for help, but said it would “mean the world” if people helped put a dent in the bill.

Amanda closed the post with a tribute to everyone who has passed on their good wishes and already offered help.

‘My family and friends. Every prayer, every message, every playlist, every poem written, every bedtime story read, every phone call, every voice message and every thought you sent and keep sending me from afar. I could never say anything to repay you all the way you helped me, but…thank you from the bottom of my heart! I am truly fulfilled and overwhelmed with the deepest gratitude and love for everyone,” she wrote.

A GoFundMe campaign was launched for Ms. Couchman (pictured) to help her pay the huge bill

A GoFundMe campaign was launched for Ms. Couchman (pictured) to help her pay the huge bill

A GoFundMe campaign was launched for Ms. Couchman (pictured) to help her pay the huge bill

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