Woman Contemplates Suing Boyfriend Who Wouldn't Pay Her Medical Bills in Viral Post

A woman recently posed a question to the Reddit community: Would she be justified in suing her boyfriend over the hospital bills resulting from a medical emergency that he caused, even if it was by accident?

The post has gained significant traction within the site's "Am I the A**hole" forum, amassing thousands of upvotes and comments. Specifically, the comments section has gained a life of its own, with the top-voted comment alone racking up over 10,000 upvotes.

The conflict described by the Redditor, a 21-year-old woman known only as u/LastConcentrate372, specifically concerns her severe peanut allergy—and the medical costs associated with it.

Peanut allergies are "the most common food allergy in children under age 18 and the second-most common food allergy in adults," reports the nonprofit Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). The organization estimates that "up to 2 percent" of children suffer from a peanut allergy, and for many—about 80 percent—the condition will continue into adulthood.

Moreover, the health care costs associated with peanut allergies—particularly severe ones—can be exorbitant. According to Allergic Living, the "yearly 'all-cause healthcare costs" for patients with peanut allergies between 2011 and 2015 were "almost double" compared to those without the allergy. Additionally, EpiPens, which are commonly used to treat anaphylaxis, can cost several hundreds of dollars for a pack of two injectors.

EpiPen
An EpiPen is held by someone who suffers from autoimmune diseases and allergies. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

With this context in mind, Redditor u/LastConcentrate372 faces a challenging situation. She begins by explaining that she's been in a relationship with her boyfriend, aged 24, for four years. Since they are both in college, they "don't have a lot of money."

She goes on to say that she is "deathly allergic to peanuts" and "has been...[her] whole life." She adds, "I have been very careful and in my entire life, I've only had to use my EpiPen twice."

"My boyfriend knows this, yet he continues to eat peanut products," the Redditor explained. "I just make sure not to kiss him when he has had something peanut that day." She adds that she "never liked that he just didn't stop," as it put her in danger, but that she "couldn't force him."

On the day of the incident, the Redditor's boyfriend reportedly "came over into [her] dorm and...kissed [her]." Only a few minutes later, she "could feel [her] throat swelling and [her] lips getting bigger."

"I instantly knew that I was having an allergic reaction," she said. "I grabbed my EpiPen and shot it into my leg and told my boyfriend to take me to the ER. Even with the EpiPen I was struggling and was nearly passing out, my boyfriend was really freaking out too."

Once the reaction subsided, the Redditor saw that her phone was filled with texts from her boyfriend, explaining he had forgotten that he had eaten a Reese's peanut butter cup, that he was sorry and that he hoped she would forgive him.

"I told my boyfriend he should be responsible for my medical bill and a new EpiPen," she explained. However, "he was telling me he has no money and he can't.... I was pretty peeved off at him because he just nearly killed me and now he won't even take responsibility for my medical bills."

She continues: "Well, word got out to his family and I received rude texts from his mom saying it's my allergy so I should have to pay the medical bill, and I was the one [who was] irresponsible." The Redditor then decided to text her boyfriend, telling him that if he continues to refuse to cover the $5,000 bill, she is "going to take him to small claims court."

She added, in a later update to the post, that they had previously agreed that he would tell her if and when he ever ate peanut products—and that she has a record of that exchange via text.

"He got very upset and I'm pretty sure our relationship is over now," she concluded.

Now, readers appear split over the situation, and many seem to question if taking legal action is the best move.

"It was irresponsible for you to let this relationship go on so long with someone who clearly doesn't care about putting your life at risk," wrote u/trashchaos in the thread's top-voted comment, "but I don't think you're [the a**hole] for expecting him to take responsibility for coming to kiss you right after [eating] a life-threatening allergen."

Some commenters went a step further, and placed the blame—and the financial responsibility—entirely on her. "He doesn't have the money. It's an honest mistake and you're the one with the issue," wrote u/seanbasquiat.

Others, meanwhile, criticized the boyfriend for continuing to eat peanuts despite the threat it posed to his girlfriend. "If someone I loved was allergic to nuts I'd give them up. Easy thing to do," said u/EmmaPemmaPooBear.

Echoed u/Revolutionary_50: "You know you could die but you're staying with a guy who puts you in danger. Then when you are in danger, you expect him to pay."

"You won't win, but you should definitely break up," advised u/JeepNaked.

Following the post's virality, u/LastConcentrate372 told Newsweek that she and her boyfriend are "definitely over" and added that she and her mom have been in touch with a lawyer.

And despite the input of some "trolls," the Redditor said that the post actually elicited some helpful advice. "You kind of have to take everything with a grain of salt, I feel, but I've [definitely] realized that I shouldn't have been putting myself in danger for someone who wouldn't stop eating peanuts for me," she said.

Update 11/15/21, 12:02 p.m. ET: The story has been updated by the Redditor known as u/LastConcentrate372.