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Friday, June 10, 2016

The "The Unbelievable Price Of Staying Well" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Talking with my wife about the recent Medicare statement she got in the mail dealing with her bout with appendicitis.  If you missed reading about my wife's recent hospital visit for appendicitis, I should tell you that all has worked out well.  Seems she came down with a pain in her stomach which our family doctor suggested we head to the emergency room to have checked out.  She had acute appendicitis.  The surgeon on call at the hospital made a visit with us and said he would recommend she be treated with antibiotics, but .... if she wanted him to operate and remove it, he would do that also.  He felt she was a good candidate for the antibiotics, thus not risking surgery.  We had plans to go on vacation five days later and she just had her gallbladder removed a few weeks ago.  The chance of developing blood clots during our four hour flight would be increased with another surgery.   He told her to stay the night in the hospital with an IV drip of antibiotics and he would visit with us in the morning to see what decision she had made.  The next day  he reported that her white blood cell count was very good and still recommended treatment with 10 days of antibiotics.  Carol and I talked it over and decided to do what the doctor, whom she had for a previous surgery, recommended.  All went well during the three week vacation and we're hoping the appendicitis is behind us for good.  Seems, though, that everyone we talk with had never heard of not having your appendix removed pronto.  Well, her overnight hospital stay with all the tests and injections as well as a few meals thrown in cost $27,556.93!  She felt this pain in her stomach when she looked at the statement.  Could it be the appendicitis returning.  No, but the price makes anyone think!  The cost of medical care in the United States is overwhelming.  A one night stay with no surgery .... what would the cost be if she had opted for the surgery?  
I have removed my friend's wife's mothers name from this
bill dated May 4, 1946.  The bill was typed with a typewriter.
It also doesn't include the medical problem, but my friend's
wife assured him that it was to have her appendix removed.
I was talking with a good friend about this and he said that his wife had just found a bill with her mother's name on it from the same hospital in Lancaster, Pennsyl- vania where she had her appendix removed.  Her mother had spent 14 days in the hospital after the surgery.  The bill included lab fees, special medications and glucose as well as her meals for the time spent in the hospital.  Her bill: $85.95.  Now I know that was seventy years ago, but it was the same body part that my wife DIDN'T have removed.  And, believe it or not, the owners of this hospital reported in the local newspaper a few days ago that they were going to have to sell the hospital since they were losing money.  Really!!  Carol had no complaints with her care, even enjoyed the several hospital employees who stopped in to visit with her (a patient advocate and the hospital priest).  But, the statement in the mail almost made her sick once again.  So thankful for Medicare and our supplemental insurance plan which will cover the charges except for a minimal co-pay.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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