Arriving in Montreal, Quebec on September 23, a young Algerian family from Oran saw their lives change overnight after the death of their father, Mohamed Bouras, following a ruptured aneurysm.
Having emigrated to Canada with his wife and 3 children, two girls and a boy aged 6, 8 and 11, Mohamed Bouras planned to take care of the children during the first months of their installation.
This is to allow his wife Yasmine Benbrahim, a dermatologist who practiced in Oran, to complete the internships necessary to obtain her right to practice medicine in the province of Quebec.
But on the tenth day of their new life in Canada, the healthy 43-year-old father complains of a headache. Seized by convulsions, he collapses. He was evacuated to hospital, without his wife and children, because the family had not completed the 14-day quarantine that anyone arriving from a trip to Canada due to COVID-19 must observe.
A bill of $ 250,000 to settle
Given the state of health of Mohamed Bouras, he was placed in a coma at another hospital, still in Montreal. His health deteriorated and he subsequently suffered several strokes before surrendering after 13 days in hospital.
His wife, destitute, was left with a bill for hospital expenses that reached the sum of 250,000 Canadian dollars, or just over 160,000 euros.
In fact, as they are new immigrants, the Bouras were not entitled to medical coverage from the public system in Quebec. They have to wait for a three-month waiting period.
In the meantime, they must take out private insurance. This, according to Yasmine Benbrahim’s report to the local press, covers around $ 100,000. A sum that she thought she would never need, and so quickly.
Tariffs increased by 200% for foreigners
One night in intensive care costs 17,400 Canadian dollars. And as Mohamed Bouras stayed 13 nights, in addition to the costs of doctors and the various examinations, the total amount quickly reached $ 250,000.
Since Canadian hospitals have an obligation to take care of anyone in an emergency situation, the practice is to treat uninsured people and send the bill afterwards, even if it means offering a facility payment arrangement.
And to avoid what Canadians call “medical tourism,” the government has even increased fares by 200% for foreigners.
Fundraising for the family
A fundraiser was started by a friend of the family. In 24 hours, two-thirds of the sum of $ 250,000 was raised.
Members of the Algerian community in Canada were moved by this story.
And right out of the story in the local press, funds raised surpassed the original goal of over $ 280,000 with contributions from other Canadians.
Thanks to social networks, the collection was shared nearly 14,000 times. The number of donors has exceeded 4,200.
Mohamed Bouras will be repatriated next Saturday to be buried in Algeria.