“We just noticed it in the bill today and had a laugh.”
We all know U.S. health care costs are out of control and that prices for services and procedures are often dramatically higher than in other developed countries.
Hospital costs are the most notorious of all. From $23 alcohol swabs to $15 Tylenol tablets, the wildly excessive charges, often teamed with opaque billing, have helped to make hospital charges account for about one-third of the annual $3 trillion U.S. health care expenditures.
While we’ve all heard stories about how obscene some hospital charges are, this one takes the cake.
A new mother was apparently charged nearly $40 to hold her baby after the birth. The father in the alleged incident posted the bill on Reddit showing that the family was charged $39.35 for “skin to skin after C-sec,” a common mother-child bonding experience.
The father, who took the charge quite lightly, wrote on Reddit:
“During the C-section, the nurse asked my wife if she would like to do skin to skin after the baby was born. Which of course, anyone would say yes too. We just noticed it in the bill today and had a laugh. All these internet points I've been showered with make me feel better about the $40. This could be my proudest moment as a father.”
The father said the unnamed hospital and nursing staff were excellent. He wasn’t bothered by the charge but found it absurd enough to post it.
One Reddit user, who claimed she worked as a labor and delivery nurse, speculated the charge was due to the extra staff required when a mother holds her newborn.
“As a labor and delivery nurse, I can kind of explain this. I didn't know that hospitals charged for it, but doing 'skin to skin' in the operating room requires an additional staff member to be present just to watch the baby. We used to take all babies to the nursery once the NICU team made sure everything was okay. ‘Skin to skin’ in the OR is a relatively new thing and requires a second Labor and Delivery RN to come in to the OR and make sure the baby is safe.”
Despite how bizarre the charge is, it will probably do little beyond raising awareness that health care costs in the United States need to be more transparent and less expensive.