A video has gone viral on social media for becoming an apparent symbol of the prohibitively high cost of healthcare in America.

The clip shows a man leaping from an ambulance stretcher and away from paramedics before fleeing up the street.

He then crashes into what appears to be a restaurant worker carrying a tray of food before toppling over in a back alley.

The footage racked up more than 9.2 million views and 270,200 likes on TikTok in just five days, as users speculated on the circumstances surrounding the dramatic escape.

Most viewers seemed to think the man fled to avoid paying for the ambulance ride or hospital treatment.

Even with insurance, an ambulance trip alone can cost between $400 (£288) and $1,200 (£865) in the US, according to website Cost Helper Health.

Meanwhile, the average overnight hospital stay costs $11,700 (£8,425), Debt.org reports. The site points out that 60 to 65 per cent of all bankruptcies in the country are related to medical expenses, which is hardly surprising considering.

Ambulance workers tried in vain to grab the escapee@meredithscharinge74/TikTok

Responding to the TikTok video, numerous users offered their own captions, with one writing: “Americans when they realise they got no health insurance.”

Another commented: “Tell me you live in America without telling me you live in America.”

While a third shared their support for the escapee, writing: “I’d do the same thing if people were trying to put me in an ambulance. Ain’t no way I’m paying for that wee woo taxi.”

And a fourth said: “He chose not to be in debt the rest of his life.”

Others suggested the man was not suffering from any serious ailments, but had been picked up by emergency services after being found drunk.

One wrote: “Tbf the ambulance kidnaps drunk people and forces them to stay against their will.”

However, another – apparent health worker – responded: “Actually we don’t. If you’re with it we let you go. Or the cops put you in protective custody and give us the papers.”

The man collided with a hospitality worker, making him drop a whole tray of food@meredithscharinge74/TikTok

Meanwhile, other users were more concerned with the poor waiter caught up in the elaborate getaway.

“He had so much space yet chose to ram right into the waiter,” one pointed out.

“If I saw the waiter coming with my food and that happen[ed] I’d cry,” said another.

And a third wrote: “OMG I need to hear the server’s POV. Where is he?”

As far as we’re aware, neither the ambulance fleer nor the waiter have been identified. So we may never know why the latter was running, nor how long that restaurant’s customers had to wait for their meal to be remade…

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