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US travel LA: Australian tourists warned to get insurance after Kiwi illness cost woman $200,000

Urgent warning to Australian travelers as Kiwi tourist gets $200,000 when she contracted pneumonia at one of world’s most popular travel destinations

  • Amanda Sesio faces more than $200,000 in debt after treatment in the US
  • Ms. Sesio was rushed to the hospital on July 1 in Los Angeles for pneumonia
  • The disease led to respiratory failure, blood infections and fluid in her lungs
  • A Go Fund Me, started by her brother, has raised over $20,000 since last Monday
  • US travelers should consider travel insurance to avoid emergency debt

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A young New Zealander faces a crippling health debt after requiring emergency treatment in the US for life-threatening pneumonia.

Amanda Sesio said she was “like a giddy teenager” when she traveled to Los Angeles for a family wedding in late June, but on July 1, she was stricken with pneumonia.

She described being rushed to hospital and placed on a ventilator like a ‘roller coaster’.

Amanda Sesio (above) faces $200,000 media debt after contracting life-threatening pneumonia while on vacation in the US

Amanda Sesio (above) faces $200,000 media debt after contracting life-threatening pneumonia while on vacation in the US

Ms Sesio was placed on a ventilator and treated in the ICU (above) after suffering from respiratory problems, blood infections and fluid in her lungs

Ms Sesio was placed on a ventilator and treated in the ICU (above) after suffering from respiratory problems, blood infections and fluid in her lungs

Ms Sesio was placed on a ventilator and treated in the ICU (above) after suffering from respiratory problems, blood infections and fluid in her lungs

The pneumonia later led to hypoxemic respiratory failure, blood infections, and fluid buildup in her lungs.

The near-fatal illness would leave her accruing as much as $207,000 in medical debt.

Mrs. Sesio’s brother, Shane Tuala, started a Go finance me on August 8 to help the young woman with ‘a heart of gold’ deal with the current accounts.

“It was a difficult time for us to see Amanda alone in these circumstances,” said Mr Tuala.

“Any donation, no matter how big, would go a long way toward helping us cover Amanda’s medical expenses and we would be eternally grateful for all the support we receive.”

The fundraiser has already raised nearly $20,000 from 316 donations, including two anonymous donors who gave $1,000 each.

Mrs. Sesio is only just beginning to recover physically from the nightmare experience.

“It was certainly the biggest challenge of my life and while the roller coaster has slowed down, there are still a few bumps ahead.”

1660493263 271 US travel LA Australian tourists warned to get insurance after

1660493263 271 US travel LA Australian tourists warned to get insurance after

Ms. Sesio’s (above) family has started a Go Fund Me to help her cope with the overwhelming debt and she shared a word of thanks to the hospital staff who “saved my life and saved my sanity”

She said hospital staff “helped her out en masse” as she faced the deadly disease without the company of friends and family.

“I hope my payments to the hospital can help honor, thank and reward the many wonderful specialists, doctors and nurses who saved my life and saved my sanity for being my temporary little family in a very strange and sometimes very lonely place. ‘

Medical care in the US is notoriously expensive with travelers and citizens facing thousands of dollars in debt for simple procedures.

Tourists traveling to the US are encouraged to purchase insurance that covers medical expenses to avoid incurring large debts in an emergency.

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