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On June 12, 2016, 20-year-old Patience Carter was shot in both legs during the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

The Philadelphia-area woman was on vacation with friends when they decided to visit the popular gay nightclub. One of her friends, Akyra Murray, was killed in the attack. The other, Tiara Parker, survived a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Patience Carter is overcome with emotion after speaking to the media from Florida Hospital. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.


Like many of the Pulse shooting survivors, Carter faced a long and painful recovery. Additionally, she faced mounting medical bills.

More than 50 people were wounded during the attack that claimed the lives of 49. Carter was taken to Florida Hospital along with 11 others.

The average medical costs for a gunshot victim come in somewhere around $20,000. As a student, it's not like Carter just happens to have tens of thousands of dollars in disposable income laying around.

I guess some people didn't see this post on my Facebook when I posted it a few days ago, so here it is. Truth As long as God knows the truth, as long as the other survivors know the truth, as long as the surgeons, and nurses who helped save a countless number of lives know the truth, as long as the police officers who risked their lives to save ours know the truth, As long as the majority of the world that sends their love and support knows the truth, As long as the strong members of the LGBT community know the truth, As long as I know the truth... I can find some peace to heal, I can find some peace to learn how to walk again, I can find some peace to want to live on, Laying here in my bed, bullet holes in my legs the size of nickels, As numerous people spin my words, the media can be very insensitive, and fickled I'm a real person, Tiara Parker and Akyra Murray are real people, and this pain is real, We all laid on that cold bathroom floor together, and the people that suffered through the hours with us, know how we feel. #OurPainIsReal #Pray4Orlando

A photo posted by Patience Carter (@patiencecarter) on

In a major act of generosity (and great news), local hospitals have announced that they won't be billing victims of the shooting.

Both Orlando Health health care network and Florida Hospital have indicated that they will not look to Pulse survivors for reimbursement. Even better, this includes follow-up care as well.

Hospital staff listen as Patience Carter speaks to the media. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"Orlando Health has not sent any hospital or medical bills directly to Pulse patients, and we don’t intend to pursue reimbursement of medical costs from them," Orlando Health told ABC News.

Between what Orlando Health can gather in the form of state and federal funding, insurance, charitable donations, and more, the organization hopes to offset some of its own costs — which, over the course of survivors' lifetimes, could go well into multimillions of dollars.

As seen in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, the price of surviving a terrorist attack can be pretty steep.

In 2013, more than 260 people were injured in a bombing attack near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. More than $30 million was donated to funds meant to help victims. Still, for many, it's not enough, resulting in a lifetime of debt not covered by insurance or crowdfunding.

Generosity and kindness are wonderful things. It's just worth remembering that when considering the holes in our current health care system. Without generosity and kindness, people in need can get swallowed up in medical bills through no fault of their own. It's adding insult to literal injury.

Boston Marathon bombing victim Erika Brannock arrives at the sentencing of accused bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev. Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images.

In the case of the survivors of the Pulse shooting and in Carter's case, the medical bill situation has worked out for the best, thanks to the generosity and compassion of two health care organizations.

Even so, we should all keep pushing for a health care system in which we don't have to rely on hospitals or strangers for help.

Health care really is a right. We need to start thinking of it that way.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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