Vegas shooting survivors turn to GoFundMe for help paying medical bills

Dozens of survivors of the Las Vegas shooting earlier this month have managed to offset their medical costs by launching personal fundraising campaigns on sites like GoFundMe. Soliciting donations to help with medical expenses is a small but growing trend in the United States and may have already averted numerous medical bankruptcies.
By Mark Schwartz | Oct 31, 2017
Medical bills ran steep for many survivors of this month's Las Vegas shooting, but online crowd-funding sites like GoFundMe have helped soften the blow. At least 29 survivors have set up profiles on GoFundMe to seek donations from friends, family, and the general public to pay for expenses such as surgeries, physical therapy, and unpaid medical leave.

More than 500 people suffered injuries in the shooting, in addition to the 59 people who died. Not all injuries were gunshot wounds. Some victims received shrapnel wounds, while one was trampled and another was impaled by a tree branch.

?Doctors said he might never walk again, but Mike is strong and is determined to walk again," reads one profile. "We are trying to raise money for his rehabilitation and get him well. He has a long road ahead of him, and lots of expenses. We want to get him the best help ever."

Profiles identify the individual by name and include at least a few photos. The more personable a profile, the more money it will likely raise, according to users.

The shooting survivors aren't the only Americans seeking help online with medical costs. An April 2016 analysis of multiple crowdfunding sites counted 5,326 medical campaigns on the site FundRazr and another 15,880 on YouCaring. And the majority of the $3 billion that GoFundMe users raised from 2010 to 2016 were for medical and health needs.

The trend may be saving many Americans from medical bankruptcy. A 2014 University of Minnesota paper found that one site, GiveForward.com, helped avert 4% of all medical-related bankruptcies in the United States. Jason Chan, one of the Minnesota researchers, told reporters that around $1,000 is all it takes to avert a medical bankruptcy, on average.

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