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An Off-topic Case for Health Care Reform

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…or as one of my commenters likes to remind me, it’s actually health INSURANCE reform.


It was a dark and stormy hot and moderately lit night. We were ready to drop the kids at their grandparents’ house for our monthly thrice-yearly date night. The 20 month old was climbing onto a chair at the kitchen table and I turned around to do something at the counter when I was struck with that hypersensitive bolt of mom-lightening.

I spun around to see my baby facing backward on a kitchen chair which had tipped and was falling quickly to the ground. Her fingers which were gripped on the back of the chair didn’t hit the linoleum, but her chin did. I just missed catching her and the chair took most of the impact. The split on her chin made me realize that date night had become mother-daughter Children’s Hospital ER night. I debated taking her in but once we saw the width of the cut and its location right on her chin, we thought it would be prudent to get it checked out and stitched while keeping an eye on her for any lingering reactions to bumping her chin.


Here are the events of the evening:


7:15 pm Arrive. Wait.

10:00 pm Get taken back in ER. Nice resident spends time at the computer getting our info. Insurance-info-collecting-dude comes by and gets that.

10:15 pm Baby falls asleep finally in my arms and nurse dabs her chin with a topical numbing agent.

10:30 Baby settles into a nice deep sleep just in time to get papoosed and stitched. Nurse takes her temperature. Resident injects her chin with xylocaine. Resident shakily administers two stitches to a wailing yet somehow half-asleep baby.

11:15 pm Attending finally arrives to give stamp of approval and we leave.


Check out the bill for those two stitches and one shot of xylocaine. And temperature check.



So to my midwife… the next time someone in my family splits open their skin, I’m showing up on your doorstep. I will give YOU 137 dollars to bust out your birth bag and make two quick stitches. If we have to wait four hours in your foyer, so be it.  You can draft a consent form that states that I am aware that _________ (x body part) is not a perineum but I trust you to stitch it anyway.


Or I could teach the family to sew up their own wounds like the guy at the beginning of Sicko. Does anyone have a good preschool self-surgery curriculum?


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Reader Comments (30)

What I love most about this post is the bill: Pharmacy/IV, $126.23 ... Supplies, $51.00 ... Miscellaneous, $1739.00 ... Bill padding, priceless.

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBreechbirthinmama

What the heck is all that misc????? When something represents 90% of total costs, that's not miscellaneous. That's like if your dinner tab said Soda x 2: $4.00, Miscellaneous: $49.00. That's ridiculous.

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNora

I have often said that I would LOVE to find a "midwife" pediatrician; without exception, I have gotten better advice on child health questions from my midwife friends than from any of the pediatricians my kids have seen. I double check EVERYTHING I hear from any ped now because I've gotten so much bad advice from them since my oldest was born.

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKari

I love how $1700+ is labeled "Misc." You could put any number wanted there couldn't you?

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

Perhaps the "Misc." is a charge for breathing the air in the ER and occupying their space??

My midwife has wholeheartedly offered her stitching services in the past to me. If I ever have a need, I plan on taking her up on the offer, even if I have health insurance.

What a scam.

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonkey Mama

they HAVE to by law give you a line by line charge for those miss charges - ASK FOR IT! wait until you see what they charge you for - it is beyond sick...not to mention many of the midwives i know would do a totally fab job of doing stitches esp on such an easy area as the chin and the baby is pretty much passed out! ;)

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersandi

PS--I'm glad the baby is ok. :)

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonkey Mama

WTF is Misc anyway? I tried to call and ask about that when I took William in to the lab to get is Bili count done (he was jaundiced at birth) and I got the run around.

I just got the bill yesterday. I'm going to call today for an itemized bill. I need to dig out the previous bill for my little bruiser from a previous visit. She fell and was limping pretty badly, so we took her in to get it checked because 18 months can't clearly articulate how their injury feels (x-rays showed no fracture... she was fine). Of course these two happened in the evening on a weekend so we couldn't just take her in to urgent care or the ped's office. Four years as a mom and not a single urgent or emergency visit and I get two ER trips and a same-day urgent ped visit for my older child) within a two months.

Anyway, on one of the bills I found two identical obscurely labeled charges... $10 billed for each temperature reading.

Misc= Time and expertise used to strap her into the big blue papoose thing? ;)

I'll post a follow up when I get the itemized bill.

November 3, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

i owe my maternal fetal health doctor about 1300 JUST for her to come say hi and make conversation with me while i was at the hospital for 5 days. there was nothing else that she did besides talk!!
it's bs.

November 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermommymichael
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