City of Peoria bills family $2,000 for medical emergency

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PHOENIX – Jennifer Petz was terrified a few months ago when she awoke to find her teenage son had accidentally inured himself while grabbing a knife to make a midnight snack.

"I was still trying to wake up and I was horrified. I thought I was dreaming, it was the scariest situation I've ever been in," she says.

Taylor apparently was not paying attention and the knife entered his upper thigh, causing a small puncture wound. Taylor tells 3 On Your Side he was kind of scared.  “I was just really weak, that's about it," he says.

Not knowing what to do while his parents slept upstairs, Taylor called an ambulance and walked outside to wait for help. Paramedics arrived and although he was taken to the hospital, the wound did not require stitches.

However, a month later, Taylor and his mom received a letter from the City of Peoria demanding $2,000. "I feel like I am being strong-armed, truly by the city attorney's office, being billed repeatedly for this $2,000."

The City of Peoria had hired a bio-hazard company to go out to their Peoria neighborhood in order to clean up blood droplets left from Taylor's wound as he waited in the street and sidewalk for the ambulance.

The bio-hazard company, surprisingly, was hired out of Tucson which is 2½ hours away.

"Over half the bill was strictly their travel time alone because they city chose to use a company from Tucson."

Jennifer claims hiring an out-of-town bio-hazard company was not only irresponsible, but considering her son's wound did not require stitches, she thinks the city overreacted by hiring high-dollar specialists.

"I don't think that as a tax-paying resident we should have to pay this bill especially this amount of money."

3 On Your side got involved and asked the City of Peoria to investigate and they did.  In an email to me, the city attorney's office says, "Blood is a bio-hazardous material..." and "must be removed from public places."

But what about hiring a company out of Tucson? Was that necessary?  In response, the City of Peoria agreed to adjust Jennifer's bill and remove the travel time for the company that came from Tucson. However, they were unable to give 3 On Your Side a new amount at this time.

"It's really like rubbing salt in the wound of my son. He almost died because of an accident." Jennifer says the entire ordeal is ridiculous and feels like Peoria is stealing from her.