Should the city waive cost for heroism and good intentions?
The families of two Valley Village women who died after rushing to aid a motorist after a recent crash will be billed for the medical costs the city incurred trying to save them, City News Service reports.
Stacey Lee Schreiber, 39, and Irma Zamora, 40, raced to help the injured driver after a crash Wednesday evening and were both electricuted by a snapped streetlight fixture that had dipped into pooling water from the hydrant the motorist had hit.
Another five people, including an LAPD officer, were also treated for their injuries. They, too, will receive bills, CNS reports.
"We can't decide who's innocent, who gets a bill and who doesn't,'' Fire Department Spokesman Brian Humphrey told CNS. "We have no control over this. We are mandated by the city council and the mayor to bill citizens for the services rendered by paramedics and that's what we do.''
Humphrey said that citizens do have some "recourses for redress.'' If a person is indigent or has low income they can appeal the bill and ask for a waiver of the fees, or they can attempt to be reimbursed by the driver's insurance.
"There was a time when the fire department did it for free but that was a long time ago,'' Humphrey said.
The driver of the vehicle, Arman Samsonian, 19, of Glendale, is under suspicion of driving in excess of the speed limit and is under investigation in connection with the fatal chain of events on Magnolia Boulevard, though no charges have been filed.
What do you think? Should the city waive paramedics fees for good samaritans? Or in this cash-strapped environment, does the city need to bill for the care its paramedics provide?