I was arrested for a DUI with a 0.06% BAC. I am working that out legally.

However, I suffer from vasovagal syncope -- or fainting -- under moments of acute stress and fear. About once every two years, my blood pressure will drop over the course of a minute or two, and I will collapse from lack of oxygen. I've been to cardiologists and after tests they advise "there is nothing you can do other than sit down or lay down to restore blood pressure, and avoid the situation." I can recognize the symptoms in advance and avoid an episode.

I told the officer roughly 45-60 seconds in advance what was about to happen and requested to sit down. My request was denied. I repeated it and tried to explain to him what was going to happen. The next thing I know I'm being lifted out of the cop car, having passed out a total of 3 times because they kept raising me upright causing my blood pressure to drop again and again.

They thought I was on drugs and took me to the ER. I checked out fine. Official diagnosis was "vasovagal syncope episode, no signs of drugs, significant alcohol intoxication, or abnormal heart function."

The ER bill is $1500. My health insurance has an exception that they do not cover injuries or medical care caused or contributed to from alcohol. They are contesting my claim because I was under arrest for alleged alcohol impairment. No arrest = no syncope.

What should I do? Please, avoid "you drink, you drive, you lose." I know how serious and dangerous it can be to drive impaired and I am dealing with that legally. However, the syncopal episode was not a result of alcohol. In subsequent cardiology follow ups, my doctors agree that 2 pints of beer would be unlikely to contribute to syncope given my prior history, and once the officer refused two requests for me to sit down to prevent the episode, it was an automatic reflex to the fear of the situation, completely unavoidable on my part since it is an INVOLUNTARY reflex. Had I been granted permission to sit down when I explained my medical condition, this would not have happened.

Is there anything I can do short of lawsuits? What is the best way to move forward on this issue?
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replied April 16th, 2009
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If you can get in writing from your doctor that this episode in no way was related to alcohol would work in your best interest and then you could appeal it with your insurance company.

Keep copies of all correspondence and of course when you speak with someone and the date and time in which you did such.
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replied August 17th, 2009
Gosh what an awful experience...(i have vasovagal syncope also)
if it is worth it to you, i would hire an attorney, not so much for the purpose of filing suit, but to find out legally what you can do to try and remove the alcohol from the cause of your hospitalization. im sure you have talked to your insurance supervisor as well as the hospital staff, but if you have not, you should get on that.
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