TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Leon McGill admits he was treated at a hospital for an apparent overdose under another man’s name, but says the name mix-up was not his fault and insists he knew nothing about the Tampa man stuck with his $5,000 bill until our Better Call Behnken investigation.
“My roommate told me, ‘Hey, there’s the news,'” McGill said. ” I looked it up and then bam, I saw this and I’m like, ‘What the hell is going on? Are you serious?'”What happened was very serious.
An 18-year-old man in Tampa, Miguel Leon, received the hospitals for McGill’s care. Not only that, but St. Joseph’s Hospital records listed this visit under Miguel Leon’s name, and when he tried to explain they had the wrong guy, he says, no one believed him. Not even the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
8 On Your Side tracked down McGill and found the real story.
As a result of our investigation, St. Joseph’s Hospital agreed to dismiss the big bill in Miguel Leon’s name. And since Leon McGill admitted he was the one transported to the hospital, the Sheriff’s Office is clearing Miguel Leon’s name in their records.
Here’s what happened:
On Aug. 27, two residents at a apartment complex near the University of South Florida called 911. According to the deputy’s report and follow up medical records from paramedics and the hospital, Leon claimed to have taken “too much Molly” and couldn’t give simple information like his name and where he lived. (Leon McGill now tells 8 On Your Side he was not on Molly. He said he did not know what substances he took that night.)
As for Miguel Leon, he claims he was home in Tampa, where he lives with his parents. He says he’s never even been to the apartment complex where the incident occurred.
“I was shocked,” Leon said.
When he received the bill, he thought it was a mistake and called the hospital but said he was told to contact the police.
“The only response, phone call I got was, ‘Oh, no, this is you. All of the information is pointing straight to you,” Leon said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
So Leon went to the Tampa Police Department to file an identity theft report and was told he had an even bigger problem. Law enforcement reports show Miguel Leon was picked up by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, after an overdose of the drug Molly, at an apartment complex near the University of South Florida.
The subject could not talk because of the drug overdose and was unresponsive even at the hospital, hospital records show. The sheriff’s deputy identified the subject as Miguel Leon after a person who claimed to be his roommate identified the subject as Miguel Leon. Then that name was confirmed with the University of South Florida Police Department. They happened to have Miguel Leon in their system because he is scheduled to start school at USF next year. The deputy then compared the driver’s license photo of Miguel Leon with the overdosed person and determined they were similar enough to make the identification. At the time, there was no reason to doubt the information given to the deputy.
Another unfortunate fact for Miguel Leon: he was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where his billing address was already in their computer because he was treated there at age 11 for a broken arm.
Hospital records, obtained by 8 On Your Side, show, “patient is not speaking now, and is refusing to speak to staff or registration.”
Leon says the hospital staff told him they go by the name provided by law enforcement. That is something officials at the hospital would not confirm. A spokeswoman said hospital protocol calls for requiring a government-issued identification card. If there is not one, the patient is supposed to be recorded at John or Jane Doe.
So at a loss as to where to go next, Miguel Leon turned to 8 On Your Side’s Better Call Behnken and we went to the apartment complex, near the University of South Florida, where the overdose incident occurred. We found out a man lives right next door to the person who anonymously contacted police. His name: Leon McGill. Sounds similar.
And then apartment management shed light on what happened. They say Leon McGill, their resident, is the one who was transported to the hospital, not Miguel Leon. Miguel, they said, is not a resident and they do not recognize him. Staff said they have photographs for every resident of the complex and they were very familiar with the details of the Aug. 27 incident.
So, 8 On Your Side took this information to the Sheriff’s Office and to University Police. Officials at both agencies said they were glad to get this new information and thought it warranted a follow-up inquiry.
The hospital has since agreed to clear Miguel Leon of any charges. As for Leon McGill, he tells 8 On Your Side that he is more than willing to pay the bill for his care.
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