Tyler Perry is coming to the rescue of a Georgia couple that was allegedly being prevented from leaving a Mexican hospital until they paid a $14,000 bill.
The couple, Stephen Johnson and his fiancé Tori Austin, have been trapped in the hospital for over a week after Johnson fell ill on Nov. 12 while they were on a cruise, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The cruise’s infirmary told Johnson that he had pancreatitis and a kidney infection among other health issues.
Although Centro Medico Americano hospital denied it, the couple said the hospital wouldn’t let them leave without paying the final amount.
“I asked how much the bill was and told them we’d figure it out when we got home,” Austin said. “[The hospital rep] said, ‘Oh, no. It has to be paid now.”
Both hospital staff and local police have prevented them from leaving a number of times, Johnson claimed.
“I appreciate them saving my life, but they can’t hold me captive,” Johnson told Channel 2 Action News in an interview last week. “That’s not right.”
He added: “It’s not that we’re trying to get out of paying the bill. We just don’t have the money right now.”
“He is truly saving my life. He is rescuing me,” Johnson told Channel 2.
As for the hospital, they have denied holding the couple hostage over their billing. Instead, a spokeswoman said that Johnson was too sick to travel.
“He arrived in grave condition,” a spokeswoman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Aside from his kidney failure and dialysis, he also has other problems and had to be treated by the cardiologist and other specialists…Right now, he is not in a condition to even travel on a commercial plane. He would have to fly in an ambulance.”
It’s not clear when Johnson can fly home, but a hospital rep said he needed to be hospitalized throughout last weekend.