A New Zealander who survived four days in a blistering US desert - all the while with a shattered pelvis - is now facing a battle with her health insurance providers.

Claire Nelson suffered serious injuries when she slipped and fell while hiking at the Joshua Tree National Park, in California, in May.

The 35-year-old was forced to drink her own urine to stay hydrated and worried about rattlesnakes during the nights she lay injured.

Still recovering in hospital, Nelson is now facing a huge medical bill as she has revealed neither of the two health insurance companies she had coverage with - one in the US and another in Canada - were willing to pay up.


Speaking from her hospital bed, she told the Herald her struggles with both insurance companies were far from sorted.

"In the US, healthcare is incredible. I can't fault the healthcare at all.

"But the financial side of it is so difficult. I had travel insurance, I actually had emergency medical travel insurance - and it's not covering much at all.''

The Kiwi was initially told she had unlimited coverage.

However, shortly afterwards, her insurance company told her that her Canadian insurance company would take over.

The story then changed again - and Nelson said she was still trying to access some help from the Canadian insurance she took out.

"I'm paying out of pocket, at the moment, for most of it and using the generosity of absolutely incredible people from around the world who have been donating to my GoFundMe.''

Nelson shared her upset with those with friends and family, as well as those who had been following her road to recovery, via Twitter.


She thanked people who had donated towards helping her pay her medical bills via a GoFundMe page set up by loved ones.

"Don't even know which is wearing me down more at the moment - the physical pain of a shattered pelvis and nerve-damaged foot or trying to get either of the insurance companies I bought policies from to cover any medical costs.

"Oh, who am I kidding? It's the latter for sure.

"I'm just tired. It's breaking me - all of it.''

*To help Claire visit: GoFundMe