In an independent study performed in the United States in 2009, it was found that the most common cause of bankruptcy is medical charges. Hospitals, surgeons and even simple GP visits can set you back a horrendous amount, especially if youre not covered by medical aid. Here are five jaw-dropping medical bill horror stories.
Marcies Anascorp Sting
52 year-old Marcie Edmonds of Arizona was rushed to her nearest hospital after she was stung by a scorpion. Her friend called the national Poison Control Center, which advised that they go the closest hospital that had scorpion anti-venom, which turned out to be Chandler Regional Medical Center. Doctors at the hospital quickly prescribed Anascorp, which they promised would quickly relieve all her symptoms.
Without discussing the cost or the possibility of any alternatives, Marcie was given two doses of Anascorp. Weeks after the incident, the bill arrived at a staggering $83,046 the hospital charged her $39,652 for each dose of Anascorp. What makes matters worse is that the same medication is available in Mexico for only $100 per dose.
Caleb Medley was one of the victims in the tragic cinema shooting in Aurora, Colorado this year. An up and coming comedian and a new father, he was severely wounded at the cinema while on a date with his then pregnant wife. One of the bullets entered his right eye, which he lost, and he is now at risk of suffering from brain damage. If and when he is fully recovered, the wounds may be the least of his worries, as he is faced with a staggering $2 million bill in hospital charges, all because he didn’t have health insurance.
Meningitis, or just a Stiff Neck
Having woken up one morning in 1988 with a severe neck pain which he put down to having slept in an awkward position, a Californian man had to cut short a business trip he was on and rush himself to an emergency room. The severity of his neck pain led doctors to suggest that he may be suffering from spinal meningitis.
One spinal tap later, his spinal fluid was tested, he received some fluids, and that was it. The doctor returned with the results, which were negative for meningitis, and told the man to go home, take a few aspirins and rest. A few weeks later the man received a bill for $12,010 $6,000 for the spinal tap, $6,000 for the testing of the fluid, and an extra $10 for a bandage.
The Most Expensive Trip to the Bathroom
An anonymous poster on a medical aid forum related a story of a time he had severe bladder discomfort and suspected he may have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Predictably, the doctor he called suggested that he come in to give a urine sample, which he did. The next day, the doctors assistant called back to say that the doctor had diagnosed a UTI, and that he had been prescribed a set of antibiotics. This is the sum total of the services that the doctor provided. The bill for this $1,244. Luckily he was insured and didnt have to pay out, but the disparity between the services offered and the amount charged here is frightening.
Broken Leg on a Runaround
Another anonymous poster told of the time when his daughter broke her leg, and instead of having her taken to hospital in an ambulance, he drove her himself to save costs. At the hospital, only technicians and night nurses were available to attend to his daughter, and he was told that she would receive better care at a nearby childrens hospital, which was 30 miles away. She was taken there in an ambulance, where she underwent further examination, including two X-rays, and her wound was dressed. At the end of it all, the father was left with a ridiculous bill for $50,000, including the cost of the unnecessary ambulance ride and of two hospital visits. One visit to one competent hospital would have been enough!