The Cost of Medical Care

in Entertaining nonsense and profound thought

I’m sure you remember that a couple of weeks past I told you that I tripped and put my arm through a glass door. I did tell you that, didn’t I? Nope I just checked. I started to write it. Saved it in drafts and forgot about it. So. The whole story.

On June 3rd I was turning our enclosed porch into a bedroom for the summer. I pushed myself beyond tired, tripped and put my hand through a glass door. I could post a picture of the resulting lacerations but it wasn’t pretty and some of you might feel queasy. I called my good friend whose son is an EMT. He patched me up, told me to go to emergency and my good friend took me there. My own lovely sons cleaned up the glass and the blood – which was brave of them considering how shook up they were over the amount of blood I got everywhere.

A cute, if somewhat lackadaisical Doctor stitched me up after a nurse cleaned the glass out of my hand and arm, I sat around a couple of hours, and had xrays to make sure the glass had been removed. I got five stitches, a antibiotic and a clean dressing. Oh and I got to spend between two and three hours in the emergency room talking with my friend. She also took pictures of the bloody gash, so if you feel you must see it, let me know.

So today we got the bill, which I will post below after blocking out any personal information. Got to be smart about these things, you know.











You may not be able to see the detail, so here’s a close up:








Here’s my breakdown:

Over three hundred dollars for a nurse to check me in, wash the glass out and three hours of sitting in a room with specialized equipment. Okay. I guess that is fair.

Seventy-seven dollars for a couple of chucks, a bottle of saline or whatever that was they poured on my arm. May just have been sterilized water for all I know. A sterilized dressing and a bandage to wrap around my arm after the stitches went it. Umm, folks, I could have bought that stuff at a pharmacy for twenty bucks. Thirty tops. Maybe you should look into where you’re getting this stuff from. Or wait. You’re charging me a mark up? 50%? Well that explains that.

One, count it, ONE antibiotic tablet. $127.33. Hello?

Radiology. $269. Well there was a beautiful mural on the wall and someone has to pay for that, right? No, I get it, radiologist’s salary, tech’s salary, fancy equipment. I won’t argue this one.

The Doctor’s professional fees: $582.00. Okay, so he was cute and charming. He spent maybe a total of fifteen minutes with me and put five stitches in my arm. Excuse me for saying this, I’m sure he’s a really nice guy and all, but that is a total ripoff. And yes I know he had to go to medical school, but shit $2000+ an hour? Get real. And not only that but there were several other patients in the ER and he had to be charging them the same amount.

And to add insult to injury? I’m going to show you the scar left on my arm. I could have used butterfly bandages on my arm and saved myself the cost, because this is one hell of a scar. Pardon me if I sound a little bitter. Of course my insurance picked up some of the bill, I’m only $527.74 out of pocket. I feel kind of like – who was it, Arlo Guthrie maybe – who paid $100 fine and had to pick up the garbage? Only I got to pay $500 and I still came out with a hell of a scar. Next time I’ll pick my own glass out of my hand and stick a bandage on the laceration. I’d be ahead financially, and I’m sure the scar couldn’t be any worse.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

londonmabel July 20, 2012 at 5:48 am

Oh merciful heavens, thanks for reminding me I’m happy to be here in the Great White North.


Kate George July 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I know London Mabel! I had my tonsils out for $5 when I lived in Vancouver. And that’s only because I had a semi-private room!


Edward July 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm

If that had happened to me, here in Canada, it would have cost me nothing! My insurance premiums are under $60 a month.


Skye July 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

I’m just lucky that I hit my out of pocket amount and deductible with the appendectomy last year or I’d be owing quite a bit. And I pay an obscene amount for health insurance just to get an obscenely large deductible. Obamacare hasn’t hit Texas yet. Doubt it ever will.


Skye July 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

Sorry for the duplicate posting. I couldn’t see it on the site but the site kept saying I’d already posted it. So I changed it a little and reposted. Feel free to delete one.


Skye July 13, 2012 at 11:44 am

I’m just lucky that I hit my out of pocket amount and deductible with the appendectomy last year or I’d be owing quite a bit. And I pay an obscene amount for health insurance just to get an obscenely large deductible. Obamacare hasn’t hit me yet. But then, I live in Texas.


KarenB July 13, 2012 at 9:32 am

It is appalling, isn’t it? I’m so sorry you had such an accident. Kudos to your boys for being brave and cleaning up.


Mary Stella July 13, 2012 at 8:18 am

I’m surprised that it wasn’t more.

Now is that what the insurance company paid or did they have a lower negotiated rate? Does that include the fee of the radiologist who looked at the x-ray or is that just the taking of the x-ray?


Judy, Judy, Judy July 13, 2012 at 7:38 am

It’s disgusting isn’t it? I work for an oxygen company and I sometimes place orders for cpap supplies. What they charge for little pieces of foam or plastic is criminal.
Glad your arm is better. I understand your frustration but I think your scar is cute.


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