Costly Lesson: Student welder has to pay hospital bill after being injured during class

(WSVN) - An accident in the classroom cuts into a student’s plan of becoming a welder. Now, she’s demanding her school take some responsibility for what happened. The Nightteam’s Kevin Ozebek shows us her costly lesson.

It takes years to master the precision needed to make it as a welder, but 27-year-old Joelle Parsons is putting in the time.

Joelle Parsons, injured in class: “I’m mechanically inclined, so I like to build things and see how they work.”

She’s working her way through a welding program at McFatter Technical College in Davie.

But in August, her dream was nearly cut short while she was in the classroom.

Joelle Parsons: “The cutting disc that I was using shattered, came down, and it hit me in my chest.”

A sharp piece of the broken disc slipped in between her mask and coveralls, leaving this deep cut and lots of blood.

She says no one even called 911.

Joelle Parsons: “911 wasn’t even an option. They didn’t even mention it.”

According to Joelle, she sat bleeding for 20 minutes while her instructor and his supervisor discussed what to do.

When the bleeding didn’t stop and she started feeling light headed, she decided to drive herself to the hospital.

Kevin Ozebek: “How long was the drive?”

Joelle Parsons: “About eight minutes.”

She left the ER with six stitches and a warning from a nurse.

Joelle Parsons: “She said, ‘Honey, don’t ever do that again! You should not drive. They should not have put you in your truck.'”

Joelle filed a report with the Broward County school district’s insurance company to help cover her $2,000 hospital bill, but the response she got back hurt as much as the cut she suffered in class.

Joelle Parsons: “It’s heartbreaking.”

A denial letter from the insurance company says. “We have found no evidence that our client is liable,” and “as such, our client cannot be held responsible for this event.”

So now, it’s up to Joelle to pay this bill out of pocket.

Kevin Ozebek: “Do you have the money for that? Or is that tough to come up with?”

Joelle Parsons: “It’s hard. I’m a student. I’m recently unemployed.”

We asked Broward County Schools about the accident.

They would not speak on camera but sent us this statement questioning Joelle’s story, saying “There are discrepancies in the information presented… The instructor indicated that he wanted to call 911 and encouraged the student to wait for medical assistance.”

And when instructors “Asked the student to stop and allow them to call 911, but the student again declined.”

Joelle Parsons: “That’s false because 911 was never offered. 911 was never an option. I stand by everything that I’ve told you guys.”

Joelle is back in school and graduates in a few months.

She’ll be leaving as a certified welder with a scar and a big debt to pay.

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