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View Diary: Over $4400 for Emergency Room visit--why we need Universal Healthcare (176 comments)

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  •  worth a call to the ambulance (4+ / 0-)

    Especially if they already have complaints.  In 2007, I fell and shattered my shoulder on Cape Cod. Went to the local ER, but the doc there felt I needed to be evaluated in a bigger hospital and sent me by ambulance from Cape Cod to Brigham and Women's.  I can't remember exactly, but I think the ambulance bill was something like $6000 and my insurance covered $100.  However, I called and spoke with them and they dropped the extra charges completely. I was very impressed by the ambulance company.  

    But not so impressed with Brigham and Women's. Another good example of why we need universal health care - I get to the ED at Brigham, get evaluated by a young resident (it was early July...), they proceed as if they're going to do surgery with a CT scan of my shoulder and an x-ray of my lungs, then all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, the resident says, "your shoulder really isn't that bad. We're sending you home."  Mind you, I live in New York State and my friends were all on Cape Cod.  Luckily I have cousins in Boston and managed to track down their number.  I had been on the way to charge my cell phone when I tripped and fell, so had no phone and no stored numbers.  My friends had gone back to the Cape Cod house to charge it for me, but the ambulance came before they got back and they, assuming I'd be in surgery, decided to wait until the next day to come up to see me as it was late by then.  

    I actually needed a partial shoulder replacement and I couldn't understand why that doc changed his mind about my needing the surgery (which I had a few days later from a local doc) and told me the injury was "no big deal" (even the tech who did the CT scan was "impressed" with my injury).  Then I got the bills and realized my HMO only covered 10% of any out of state charges.  They had realized they were going to be stuck with a massive charge that I probably would never actually be able to pay, so decided to lie about my injury and send me home in the middle of the night with a badly shattered shoulder.   When I protested being sent home in the middle of the night in a city I didn't even live in, no friends to drive me anywhere and with no effort on the part of anyone there to even help me track down a ride and asked the doc, "Am I supposed to just find a hotel?" his response was, "well a night in the ER would be a pretty expensive hotel stay."  

    If my cousins hadn't lived in Boston, those people would have had no problem sending me out the door in a city I didn't know, stoned out of my mind on pain pills, and no plan for a place to stay.  And I'm positive money was at the bottom of the reason why. I imagine what happens to people with fewer resources than I have.  Horrifying.

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