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States take Mum to court over son's A&E bill

States take Mum to court over son's A&E bill

Thursday 27 February 2020

States take Mum to court over son's A&E bill


Guernsey mother, Lucia Pagliarone, has been told by the Petty Debts Court that she doesn't have to cover her son's A&E bill because she wasn't consulted before his trip to the hospital.

The child was taken to the Emergency Department by Ms Pagliarone's ex-partner back in 2017, after he fell off his skateboard.

He was treated for minor injuries and given a tetanus jab.

The States of Guernsey decided to take the matter to court, after Ms Pagliarone refused to pay the £200 bill for her son's treatment.

royal_court.jpg

Pictured: The case was heard in Petty Debts Court.

During her hearing last week, she claimed she was unaware at the time that her son had been taken to A&E and, as a Holistic Healer, would have chosen to treat him at home if it had been her decision. She was not happy that her son had been given a tetanus vaccination and suggested this may have been why her ex-partner refrained from telling her about the injuries to begin with.

Ms Pagliarone told the court how she had found out about the hospital visit the following day, when her son returned home. She said her ex-partner had not attempted to contact her before taking the child to the Emergency Department.

Judge Philip Robey explained that, while parents often feel "morally obliged" to pay for their child's treatment, they can't be made to if they weren't consulted about the hospital visit.

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Pictured: Ms Pagliarone claims she was unaware her child had been taken to hospital.

He described an A&E visit as a 'contract' between the patient and the medical professional, in which the patient agrees to pay in exchange for their treatment. However, legally a contract cannot be made with a minor and, in circumstances such as these, a 'contract' is made with the responsible adult accompanying the minor to the hospital. As Ms Pagliarone wasn't the one to take her son to A&E and claims she knew nothing about it, she can't be held responsible for the bill.

"On the facts before me, this case has to be dismissed," Judge Robey said.

It is understood the States of Guernsey have tried to contact Ms Pagliarone's ex-partner regarding payment, but haven't received any money.

Pictured top: The Princess Elizabeth Hospital Emergency Department.

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