DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to begin a political discourse on who is responsible for the broken system, but instead to address that the system is indeed broken.
Earlier this summer my family and I were over at some friends house hanging out. My oldest son, Ethan (5 yrs) was wrestling around and playing the way 5 year old boys do. All of the sudden he began to scream in pain, the kind of scream where you knew he was in some real pain. He was holding his elbow and couldn’t move it. At first I thought he was overreacting… So I did what any Dad would do… “It’s o.k. son, just SHAKE IT OFF”… This didn’t work. He continued to cry out in pain.
Fast forward about 15 minutes and we decided we needed to take him to the hospital. His elbow was not alright. We needed to do something. So I took him to the Stamford Hospital. Here is how our night went.
Side note: He was crying a bunch, not so much from the pain, but more because he was afraid of getting a shot. Poor guy.
We showed up just before 10p. They took us in right away because they could see that the little guy was in pain. A nurse looked at his arm and pretty much immediately knew what the problem was. He had popped his elbow out of place, similar to a shoulder popping out of place. She looked at his arm, tried to move it back into place. No luck. So she immediately took us to a room in the ER. We got in there, a PA came in and looked at his arm. She was in the room for 1 min. Had them give him a dose of Alleve (or something like it) to help with the pain. She came back 5 – 8 min. later. She looked at the arm and literally rolled his wrist to the left, then to the right, then pulled his arm up like he was doing a bicep curl. Ethan’s arm immediately went back into place and he had full use of his arm on the spot. The PA literally took about 45 seconds to get it back into place and spoke to me for about 2 min. Then walked out and said, “Have a great night”. I was at the hospital for about a total of 30 min. Grateful for the speed of the visit.
I was thankful that my little guy was all better. Thankful for our experience at Stamford Hospital.
UNTIL…… I got the bill.
For that short 30 min. (from the time I walked in the door to the time I walked out) they billed me $1800 for that visit. They did NOTHING other than look, LOOK WITH THEIR EYES, at my sons arm. They knew what it was right away and took seconds to fix it. How… How… How does that possibly warrant an $1800 bill? It cost in the range of $1200 for the PA to do that little twisty, twisty, bicep curl trick… I’m in the wrong business if thats the going rate for a 45 second visit.
This is a glaring example of a broken system. I have a 5 year old boy that is writhing in pain and can’t move his arm. It takes a nurse with some (little to none) experience to be able to fix my little mans out of place elbow. Next time one of my family members is in pain, you can bet short of a leg falling off, I am going to do all that I can to avoid the hospital.
The system is broken.
I will be following up with Stamford Hospital about the charges. I will be fighting this injustice (I’m not trying to over dramatize this event, it really is an injustice).