Boycott ER!!

One of the underrated negatives of having a boatload of kids is the medical bills. I don’t care if you have the best insurance on the planet, these well baby check ups, pediatric GI visits, G-tube surgury plus follow-ups, follow-up to the check ups, “just want to see if she has an ear infection” visits (for every baby multiple time) add up. Today I sat down to go through a huge stack of them because for some odd reason my husband hates it when bill collectors call. I guess he’s worried about our credit rating or something dumb like that. Jon, if you’re reading this, what’s the worst that’s going to happen if our credit goes to shit? Man, you’re so paranoid! Anyway, as I was going through the stacks upon stacks of bills I really looked at a couple of them and I was appalled at what ER’s charge for NOTHING.

I don’t know if you all remember that last July I had a big daddy of a migraine while at Blogher. I took a cab over to St. Francis and was there for only one hour while they gave me an IV drip of magnesium. Seriously, no harder drugs. The place was empty that day but I still was ignored by the doctor and the nurse who was assigned to me. Once she started the drip she went off to have coffee and chit chat with the other nurses. I asked at one point if they could turn off the light in my little curtained off cubby of a room and the doctor (who I kid you not was sitting behind a desk watching television) said “I’ll send the nurse.” He never did. The bill from that visit? Three grand. Uh, WHAT? After the discount they do for insurance it was a little under a thousand and my insurance only paid two hundred of it. Obviously, I want to fight this bill but the chances are slim to zilch that they will cut the bill. And that’s just for my medical issue.

I’m lucky that a lot of Sadie’s therapy is covered by a state funded program but due to budget cuts, it’s possible that we will lose some of the services we have. We probably won’t so don’t freak out and start writing to Arnold Shwartzenegger on my behalf four times a day. I know you were all opening a new document on your computer to help me but it’s okay. However, think that ER’s are out of control in what they charge. And in defiance, I am going to refuse to watch ER. For this week. Won’t you join me in this fight? Here’s something else for your viewing pleasure.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on January 28, 2009 11:23 pmUncategorized23 comments  


  1. Laura in Michigan said,

    Ok, let me explain (I work in hospital billing…) Yes, the charges in the ER are high– really high. But you aren’t just paying for the drugs, the doctor, etc. You are paying for the lights, the nursing staff, the pharmacist who filled the order for your IV, and even the cleaning staff. And depending on what kind of Trauma level the hospital is, that can affect the charges too. I am definitely not in agreement with the high cost, just ‘splaining!!

    | January 29, 2009 @ 12:18 am

  2. Cheryl Lage said,

    Way ahead of you. Been refusing to watch ER for years now. My g’pa (92) took a spill a few days before Christmas. All I can say is thank goodness I DID watch ER back in the day since I seemed to be the only one who was keeping any kind of track of what was going on. (e.g. “How is his white blood cell count now?” “Is the IV rectifying the low blood pressure drop?” “Can someone please swab the blood from his mouth?” “Can he have some water?” “Are the images back from radiology?”) Hand to heaven, NO ONE seemed to remember from one in room peek to the next what things had or had not been done. His insurance was covering it, but I can only IMAGINE what the costs would be for services rendered that had to be guided through each medical staff member via overexhausted lay-person me.

    Thanks for the vent. I’m done now.
    (Sure I could have said, “I empathize…but I needed the purge.”)

    | January 29, 2009 @ 12:37 am

  3. Anna Marie said,

    I’m with you. I took the girlchild to the ER for respiratory distress. They did an xray and a breathing treatment, told me everything was fine and charged me two grand. If the boychild (the one with the g-tube) didn’t have medicaid I don’t know what we would do!

    | January 29, 2009 @ 12:55 am

  4. Backpacking Dad said,

    That’ll teach me to write, envelope, stamp, mail, track, await-reply-to, receive-reply-to, reply-to-reply-to-and-attach-pipe-bomb-to-, angry letters before I’ve finished reading an entire blog post.

    I’ll be over here in jail. I think you pay for that too.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 1:18 am

  5. KLS said,

    If there is one doctor or charge in particular you can dispute, you should do so.

    I broke my wrist several years ago and had to go to the ER. The doctor on call did a 4 second adjustment to snap my wrist back into place, WITH the help of one of friends. We got a $1700 charge for “surgery” for something that literally took less than one minute. I wrote a letter saying the last time I checked, surgery involved stuff like scalpels and anesthesia and stuff. I ended up paying only a few hundred dollars.

    It’s worth a try to get the charges reduced. Saying you can’t afford it sometimes helps too (at the time I was a student, and really couldn’t afford randomly spending $1700)…

    Hopefully you’ll see fewer doctors in 2009!

    | January 29, 2009 @ 2:32 am

  6. Suzy said,

    Remember my July 4th nosebleed? 4 hours in the ER, they never stopped the bleeding after I TOLD them what drug to give me to make it stop. They sent me a bill for $485. I reluctantly paid it because I had my ankle surgery coming up and thought I might need an ER handy. BIG MISTAKE.

    Once they saw I paid it, they sent me another bill for $900. I called and bitched and they gave me a number to call and no one ever answered so now I just shred the bills.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 2:36 am

  7. Addie said,

    Hospital bills are crazy! I agree with you about the nurses and doctors never going to check on patients too. I had a two year internship in high school at a local hospital and the nurses always ignored the call lights and I practically had to beg them to come help me with a patient. A few were nice, of course, but the majority drove me nuts! That’s one of the reasons I did not go into the medical field. I could not stand to work with people who sat around and twiddled their thumbs while patients needed something.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 2:44 am

  8. thehuffs said,

    Yeah, I’ve been there. I got my ring stuck on my finger one night and after we’d tried everything and it was starting to turn blue we decided we needed to go to the emergency room.
    They sat me on a chair in the hall way and sent a guy who looked like a mechanic who’s hands were shaking like crazy to use the saw to cut it off. He cut me, too, so they gave me some ice and sent me on my way.
    If it had been during the day we could have gone to a jewelers and they’d cut it off for free. But they sent me a bill for $600. I called and complained and within a week they dropped it to $60! So I would definitely recommend complaining. I think they just throw a crazy number out there and see what they can get away with.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 3:15 am

  9. Kyla said,

    Ha! That’ll show ’em.

    Medical bills are crazy.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 3:19 am

  10. Becks said,

    wait! Wait! Read this article!


    Seriously, I bet you got stuck with that huge bill because you HAVE insurance. It’s crazy to me that if you didn’t? You wouldn’t have to pay anything. Um, just another big red neon sign that says “our healthcare system is broken!”

    | January 29, 2009 @ 6:34 am

  11. Wicked Step Mom said,

    I am glad that I have really good insurance. I know that the prices are necessary on some level but I hate that they charge so much.

    Also, I don’t ER at all. So, I am way ahead of you there.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

  12. Carolyn...Online said,

    Is ER still on the air? Didn’t it flatline years ago? How about I skip House this week in solidarity with your movement.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

  13. Karen said,

    Nope.. they dont just throw it out there if you HAVE insurance… you can get slammed with 12,000 bills for a few hours of sitting in a room waiting for someone to push food out of your esophogus… trust me! I have no insurance. And though they did not do a thing for 4 hours and then played around with things for another 3.. I get this GINORMOUS bill…. that I can ill afford with no insurance.

    They do however take $5 checks made out every month.. hehehee… especially when thats “all I can pay.” ;o)

    SOMETHING needs to be done… and I wish it was as easy as boycotting ER.

    (I too thought it was off the air a long time ago… whatever made me stop watching it??? I cant recall….)

    | January 29, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

  14. Stefanie said,

    I feel like some of you are not understanding the enormity of boycotting ER. It is still on and it is AWESOME this year. I may have to go with Carolyn and boycott House instead. I forgot to watch it Monday anyway.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 4:33 pm

  15. WA said,

    How about if I just stop looking at the picture I have of George Clooney wearing scrubs in 1992? That’s solidarity right there, baby.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

  16. Catwoman said,

    I’ve boycotted ER since George Clooney left, so I will join you in the cause.

    And just to be a topper along with your other commenters, remember when I fell at the hospital when 8 months pregnant while visiting the maternity ward? And ended up spending the night because I was having contractions? After my fantastic insurance, that incident cost me $600.

    You’d think I would have gotten a huge bouquet of flowers from the hospital and a “thank you for not suing us” box of chocolate or something. I paid it, since I was having a baby a month later there and wanted them to be nice to me.

    Because I believe in buying my friends, apparently.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

  17. Amanda said,

    I hate ER anyway. I’m totally with you.

    | January 29, 2009 @ 6:07 pm

  18. Nanny Goats In Panties said,

    You can’t just boycott ER. You must include Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs. However, I believe you can watch reruns or syndicated shows. And of course, daytime soaps like General Hospital are allowed as well. Good Luck!

    | January 30, 2009 @ 4:58 am

  19. mam said,

    Had I read this post before Thursday I would have been all “so sorry for the bills, and I like you and all, but not in THAT way, not THAT much; I have to watch ER!”

    But it’s Saturday morning, and ER wasn’t even on this week, so sure — I’ll boycott for you! Because, solidarity, sister! You’re welcome.

    | January 31, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  20. Black Hockey Jesus said,


    | April 30, 2009 @ 2:36 am

  21. Backpacking Dad said,

    And the random e-mail I just received from Blogger telling me that BHJ had just commented on a four month old post of yours with “20!” was not as out of left field as it would have been had I not just finished reading your Rick Springfield giveaway post exactly one minute earlier.

    | April 30, 2009 @ 2:39 am

  22. Nanny Goats In Panties said,

    Well, it was certainly out of left field for me. What the heck were we talking about again?

    | April 30, 2009 @ 5:47 am

  23. GTR said,

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    | August 26, 2009 @ 8:18 am

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