Lifeguard John Clark Saves Boy, Is Hit With $2,600 Hospital Bill

lifeguard john clark saves boy hospital bill

AOL Jobs/AP -- A lifeguard from Vancouver, Wash., who rescued a 12-year-old in the surf at Rockaway Beach near Tillamook, Ore., was billed nearly $2,600.

Seventeen-year-old John Clark is a lifeguard this summer at a community center in Vancouver, but he was at the Oregon beach last month when he heard screams for help. He dived through breakers and heavy swells to keep the boy afloat until personal watercraft arrived and pulled them to shore.

"I don't know exactly how big the swells were," KOIN reports Clark as saying. "But they were big enough to push both of us underwater -- all the way down to where we were touching sand."

Both swimmers were pulled to shore by Jet Skis. Clark had a headache so he went with the boy in an ambulance to Tillamook General Hospital.

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Clark thought the ambulance ride was standard procedure until several weeks later when a bill arrived: about $450 for the emergency room, $230 for the doctor bill and $1,900 for the 15-mile ambulance ride.

"I had a feeling there would be a bill," Clark said, adding that he didn't know how much it would be.

"I kind of feel bad for the fact that it's so expensive," he said. "But I couldn't just let the kid go -- I had to do something."

Last month, a lifeguard in Florida was fired after saving a man outside his coverage area. Tomas Lopez, 21, was offered his job back, but he declined, telling ABC News that the only reason he was offered his job back was because he took his story to the media.

"If I never said anything," Lopez said, "they never would have acted."

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