Your major surgery is not Citi's or MIdland's affair. You used the card, and now you must repay.
The 30 days runs from the date of service, which is most likely the day they left the summons and complaint with your daughter.
If you are going to have to pay the debt anyway, you may be just making things worse by answering the complaint, spending time and money and perhaps making yourself liable for more attorney's fees. On the other hand, often these debt collectors cannot prove that you owe the money, so you may want to file a general denial anyway.
You should consult an attorney, paying for a half hour or an hour of the attorney's time, so that your situation can be reviewed in detail. You may have defenses, such at the Statute of Limitations. These should be alleged in your Answer to Complaint. The details of what you put in your Answer depend upon the specific facts of your individual case. Midland, as a debt buyer, will need to prove that they "own" the account. And, they may be required to obtain original documents and witnesses from CitiBank. Midland does not always get cooperation from Citibank, so you may be able to reach a favorable resolution. See a lawyer first.
Now that you are aware of this lawsuit, you are required to respond to it or a default judgment may be taken, if no response is received with the court. The date your response is due will depend on what documents the process server filed with the court. If a copy of this was also mailed to you, then your deadline would be 40 days from the mailing date. Please see my "next steps" blog below, for further information on what you need to do next and timing.
Many people in your position of being served with a lawsuit contact an experienced attorney for the particular case, which this is a debt collection lawsuit. If you contact my office, I'd provide you with a free consultation, as most lawyers who respond to these sorts of questions would do. Leaving town will not prevent a default judgment from being entered. The judgment would follow you around where ever you work or live, so please do not ignore it, that will not make it better.
Robert Stempler (please see DISCLAIMER below)
NOTICE: The above statements are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended as legal advice or advice of any sort for a specific case or legal matter. If you do not have a signed attorney-client fee agreement with the Consumer Law Office of Robert Stempler, APC ("the Firm"), then until such written fee agreement is provided and signed by both a prospective client and attorney for a particular case, neither Mr. Stempler nor the Firm will represent you nor will they be your attorney in any matter and you remain responsible for retaining your own attorney and for compliance with any and all deadlines and for any statutes of limitations that may pertain to potential claims. Comments made on a public forum, such as Avvo.com, to not have any confidentiality because others may read them. If you desire a private consultation with Mr. Stempler that is confidential, please go to www.StopCollectionLawsuits.com and submit a free eCase Review. The result portrayed for a client was dependent on the facts of that case. Results will differ if based on different facts. The Firm and Mr. Stempler are a debt relief agency. The Firm and Mr. Stempler help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
That is the standard 30 day period they give you to respond. You should consider hiring a lawyer experienced in handling these matters to assist you and handle the case for you.
Feel free to contact me to discuss.