Inevitably Expensive Care

 

Many, if not most, medical procedures are more expensive than they could be due to regulatory burdens, middlemen, frivolous lawsuits, and whatnot. But there will always be forms of extraordinary care which would drain a family’s resources even under ideal circumstances.

Last year, only a month after our grandmother died, my cousin Kristen’s baby boy was admitted to the children’s hospital for trouble breathing and moving. Little Colin was eventually diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation around the spine with potentially paralytic consequences. The doctors never figured out the cause of Colin’s ailment. There was at least one time when he nearly died because of a mysterious heart irregularity which the physicians said was apparently unrelated to the myelitis. Complications continued to arise. Colin’s lungs needed help. His breathing tube was only removed a couple weeks ago.

For over two months, Colin was kept in the Intensive Care Unit. Because it was ICU, only a handful of relatives were allowed to see him. Every night for those months, some member of my family stayed with him; talking to him, showing him videos, trying to stimulate his arms and legs, bringing balloons for him to grip… praying that he would regain at least some mobility and coordination, though he had only begun to crawl before the myelitis struck.

I’m happy to report that Colin is back home and in excellent shape. It might be several months before we know how much potential for moving and speaking he will regain, but for now he seems a pretty normal and happy toddler. The featured picture is the most recent one I have to Colin.

He received excellent medical care. We conservatives recognize that care comes with a cost. Now that Colin has come home, the extent of the financial burden is coming more sharply into focus. Though cheaper by orders of magnitude than it would have been without insurance, the bill is daunting. My cousin’s family needs help to repay, at least financially, the great service those doctors and nurses afforded her precious child.

The Ricochet community has exhibited awe-inspiring charity time and again over the years. Please consider extending that kindness now to my cousin. Colin continues to require extraordinary attention, which requires one parent to remain home in what was formerly a dual-income household (already stretched). Friends of the family have started a fundraiser. Please give it a look and/or offer a prayer. Thank you.

There are 11 comments.

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  1. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Aaron, my heart breaks for this child and family, unfortunately, my daughter managed to break her arm a few weeks ago, with no insurance at all. Will try to make a donation in May.

    • #1
  2. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Prayers, definitely, Aaron; funds ASAP!  Hugs for Colin and family!

    • #2
  3. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Kay of MT:
    Aaron, my heart breaks for this child and family, unfortunately, my daughter managed to break her arm a few weeks ago, with no insurance at all. Will try to make a donation in May.

    Thanks! The fund has a $5,000 goal. I’m not very familiar with this system, so I don’t know if the goal is a limit at which the fundraiser ends. But we appreciate your intentions, regardless!
    All prayers are also appreciated.

    I saw my cousin Kristen a couple days ago, and she was touched by all the donations from people she doesn’t know. Little Colin was squeaking with excitement, but not yet able to sit up without help.

    • #3
  4. 1967mustangman Inactive
    1967mustangman
    @1967mustangman

    Pardon my ignorance but the website said they expected the parents to have to pay $20,000. Do they really have and out of pocket maximum that high?  Or is there something I am missing.

    • #4
  5. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    My mother died at age 64 due to complications from diabetes.  On her last visit to my house two or three years before her death she had trouble climbing the stairs, a result, I now know, of a series of mini-strokes she was suffering at the time.  She did not have health insurance and would not visit the hospital even when I offered to pay the bill.  For all our complaints about Obamacare, which I generally agree with, we should not lose sight of the fact that millions of lower income, hard working people that are not professional malingerers [they have Medicaid] really do need coverage. P.S. awkwardly worded last sentence – I agree with the objections to Obamacare, I do not generally agree with Obamacare.

    • #5
  6. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    1967mustangman: Pardon my ignorance but the website said they expected the parents to have to pay $20,000. Do they really have and out of pocket maximum that high? Or is there something I am missing.

    I’ll ask about it, but I assumed that there is some cost-sharing condition after the insurance (a government program, as I recall) covers a certain amount. However the bills are split, the costs were undoubtedly high because Colin’s entire stay was in ICU, rather than a typical hospital room. His heart and lungs were dangerously unsteady for a long time.

    • #6
  7. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Petty Boozswha: For all our complaints about Obamacare, which I generally agree with, we should not lose sight of the fact that millions of lower income, hard working people that are not professional malingerers [they have Medicaid] really do need coverage.

     This goes back to the problem of people with pre-existing conditions. Certainly, such people merit help as much as anyone else. But, just as certainly, to force private insurers to cover pre-existing conditions is to force them to forego profits and become extensions of government rather than private companies. If Americans are willing to offer such coverage, it must be directly through taxpayer-funded programs and not through fascist dictates which usurp control of private companies.

    I often wonder how much government entitlements depress private charity. As the wonderful response to this fundraiser demonstrates, communities don’t need to be forced by government to look after those in need. But people are less likely to respond to such calls for charity when they believe Uncle Sam will fulfill any needs.

    • #7
  8. Lady Randolph Inactive
    Lady Randolph
    @LadyRandolph

    Aaron Miller:

    But people are less likely to respond to such calls for charity when they believe Uncle Sam will fulfill any needs.

    And when Uncle Sam is already grabbing so much that we could potentially give. The government says that it needs to take our (greedy capitalist) money in order to help the less fortunate. Guess what, government? Let us keep our money, and then we’d be able to help them ourselves, and I bet we’d do a better job of it too.

    • #8
  9. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    I just made a donation.

    • #9
  10. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    I agree with your sentiments – look at a graph of the median income of doctors and lawyers before and after Medicare and Medicaid; they were essentially equal until all the work doctors used to do for charity or reduced rates started to be paid by the government. Now doctors make several times the median income of lawyers. [I know, boo hoo for the lawyers.]

    • #10
  11. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    I just watched a video of my cousin showing little Colin taking tentative steps with the aid of a walker. It remains to be seen if he will walk normally, but at least we know now that he will be able to move around independently.

    Thank you again for your prayers and for you donations.

    • #11

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