A Heart Attack And The Numbers

Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Heart showing MIPresenting a succinct short story of a heart attack and the billing as experienced by a patient

One afternoon a man sitting at home and reading a news article, stood up to walk to the kitchen. He felt a sudden pain in his chest along with shortness of breath. About an hour later the pain returned and this time began spreading over the top of his chest and into his neck. Concerned, he drove to the emergency department of a local hospital.

The hospital admitted this patient and did not initially find any signs of heart issues from blood labs and ECG tests but the Hospitalist ordered an overnight stay for observation.

Around 1:30 AM a blood test revealed elevated cardiac enzymes, and again at 6:00 AM. A cardiologist ordered the patient into a cath-lab at 8:00 for an angiogram, concerned of a heart attack.

What follows is one of many true testaments to some health care issues in America.

In the Cath-Lab, the cardiologist found the Right Coronary Artery was 90% blocked and other areas will require further treatment at a later date to allow the heart to recover from the procedure. He placed a stent and the procedure was wrapped up in a little over an hour. The patient stayed overnight and was discharged the next day.

Two days after discharge, the patient felt very weak, short of breath, and angina pains. The on-call cardiologist ordered him to the emergency room. After an overnight stay, the cause was determined to be a drug interaction that lowered his blood pressure to a worryingly low level. The physician changed the drug regime.

In a follow up with the cardiologist, a week later, he recommended based on the continuance of the patient’s angina and general lack of energy that the patient should have the second phase of the stenting move to the soonest date available. On that day the patient went to hospital and another angioplasty was performed. Three medicated stents were placed and another coronary artery was ballooned. The hospital discharged the patient the next day.

The quality of care the patient received was excellent and the staff and physicians performed their duties to the highest standard. The patient is making a strong recovery and is feeling much healthier and better. There was no damage detected to the heart. The intervention certainly prevented a catastrophic heart attack from occurring in the future.

Now for the other aspect of this story: The cost

06/19/2014 to 06/21/2014
Inpatient HOSPITAL
Sub-Total 568.00
06/19/2014 to 06/21/2014
Inpatient Hospital
Cardiology 45,716.53
EKG/ECG 640.29
Emergency Room 2,760.48
Laboratory 2,367.48
Supplies and Devices 11,247.60
Pharmacy 6,304.32
Radiology 412.26
Room and Board 3,461.09
Observation Room 1,053.20
Sub-Total 73,963.25
06/22/2014 to 06/23/2014
Outpatient HOSPITAL
EKG/ECG 213.43
Emergency Room 2,760.48
Laboratory 1,747.63
Pharmacy 458.67
Radiology 412.26
Observation Room 1,579.80
Sub-Total 7,172.27
07/14/2014 to 07/15/2014
Inpatient HOSPITAL
Cardiology 86,472.79
EKG/ECG 426.86
Laboratory 813.78
Supplies and Devices 56,943.56
Other Imaging Services 1,019.02
Pharmacy 9,827.02
Room and Board 2,633.68
Sub-Total 158,136.71
Grand Total $239,840.23

The patient spent, in total, seven days in hospital, the cost of which was nearly two hundred and forty thousand dollars. This amount represents 94% of what the patient paid for his house years ago.

When a person wakes up in the morning, they certainly don’t expect to have a mild heart attack or that a month later they will get a bill equal to four and a half years’ income for the median American Household. Yet, it happens quite often in the United States, probably every hour at least.

Fortunately he had health insurance. Of the $239K the hospital, cardiologist, and others billed, the patient was only responsible for $1,824.86. He paid the bill, thankful for this new gift of health and that his insurance indemnified him from the tremendous cost of the procedures.

One certainly cannot stress enough the importance of health insurance, for a healthy life and financial stability. Without insurance or government program most Americans would be bankrupted in receiving treatment as our patient has.

Also, though the treatment was certainly first rate, one has to wonder how seven days of hospitalization and a procedure lasting a little over an hour and the second part three, generated an expense of nearly $240,000.00.

Surely the cost is worthwhile to save a patient’s life. But, what is the cost to society in having a system such as we do presently?

By Darren Smith

Source: Confidential
Photo Credit: J Heuser

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

172 thoughts on “A Heart Attack And The Numbers”

  1. Once agin, another dishonest contribution from the working shill. There has not been any significant numbers of voter fraud, in California or anywhere else in the country, despite the frantic efforts of Bush’s Justice Dept. to turn up every possible instance of fraud.

    Voter ID laws are part of the coordinated effort to disenfranchise minorities, the poor, and the elderly. 90 year old former Speaker of the House Jim Wright was turned away at the polls recently because he no longer has a driver’s license, since he no longer drives. The other components to this effort are long waiting lines with restrictions on access to rest rooms; registration confirmation mailings that look like junk mail; and dirty tricks that spread misinformation about polling places and times; not to mention the rigged election equipment and the computerized balloting that allows the numbers to be changed, as the Republicans did in 2010. These, together with the gerrymandered states are designedd to steal elections from the will of the people and hand them over to the neocons.

    Only the racist attitudes of the ignorant Fox News followers allow these voter ID laws to exist

  2. Lee:

    I disagree that voter photo ID laws have been shown to keep voters away. In fact, the actual figures show that African Americans turned out in record numbers, even in states that had voter photo ID laws.

    I do, however, support requirements that all states also have programs that help get photo ID to poor and elderly citizens. That would help them engage in all manner of transactions, including voting.

    Here in CA, illegal aliens voting are a major problem, as well as other voter fraud. Photo ID is one of the ways to combat fraud, which is why you need a photo ID to engage in most major transactions in the United States, including renting an apartment, notarizing loan documents, driving a car, etc.

    If it’s not racist to require a photo ID to open a bank account or cash a check, why is it racist to prove who you are to vote? Or to periodically purge the rolls of illegal aliens? Shouldn’t we all welcome efforts to combat voter fraud? Because I’m quite sure that no political party could resist the temptation.

    The way in which e-verify, and other methods used to verify the right to work, is analogous to voter ID laws is that they are used to determine identity and eligibility. It is in fact directly relatable.

    Do you believe it is OK for someone to provide photo ID to verify immigration status, in order to get a job, but not in order to vote??? Do you believe it is racist to have to provide a photo ID to cash a check? Open a bank account? Get a drivers’ license? Prove who you are to the police when asked? Board an airplane? Why do we require photo ID for any of these transactions? Because of fraud, of course! And what will be the obvious result of a Liberal push to ban verifying identity at the voting booth, or weakening the requirements for verification? Why, fraud, obviously! Because otherwise, we are trusting human nature not to yield to temptation in hotly contested elections.

    Look, you need a photo ID to function in the US. Either all of the ID requirements are racist, or none of them are. Because it is illogical to simply pick one and claim that ONLY that one is racist. Is it elder abuse for an older person to have to provide a photo ID in order to have a mortgage notarized, or a medical Power of Attorney?

  3. Because letting felons go to rape, murder, and otherwise terrorize law abiding residents is much better idea!

  4. Oh yes, every state should aspire to be Arizona! We all want a Sheriff Joe.

    1. Annie – you are correct. Every state needs Sheriff Joe. If only you were so lucky.

  5. Lee:

    Let me clarify. The court did say to fix the problem. I agree with you there.


    What do people do with overcrowding in prisons? They build more prisons! Isn’t that the most obvious answer? They have billions of dollars they’re throwing away on a vacation train, but don’t have the money for new prisons? Or tent prisons?

    And, again another border state problem, the federal government does not allow us to deport criminal illegal aliens, which contribute to our overcrowding.

    According to Eyewitness News, CA pays $1 billion annually to house illegal aliens in jail. Here’s an idea – deport them! Except the federal government interferes, and refuses to follow our laws.


  6. Karen then they should enact the law to require it. You say they need to do that.
    It is not analogus to voter ID laws, Voting is a right and voter ID has been shown to keep folks from voting because they don’t have access to the photo ID, in some areas so far away they can be gotten to by everyone (if you are poor and don’t have a car you cant just take a taxi andnot everywhere has public transportation. those who have been divorced and registered unuder one name and have photo id under the one name, those who do not have birth certificates etc. (and of course voter fraud has turned out to be a fraud. more often it is like the rep in Pa said. Voter Id laws will help Romney win.

  7. All it takes is a little time and research to determine the consequences of Liberal policies. And time and again, they turn out to be detrimental, if well intentioned. And I have yet to find a single Liberal policy that they “had the money for” – so far, in my own research, it has always entailed increasing costs, and often leads to higher taxes. A great example is the prison realignment program, which ended up actually costing us more money, in addition to higher crime.

  8. Paul, please read the article I cited. It was the court, not the governor who said they had to fix the problem. I am nit sure what you would have them do. You folks on the right excoriate the president for taking unilateral action, ie executive orders, would you have Brown unilaterally say, We will spoend ( ) millions of dollars to buld new jails, I don’t care if we don’t have the momney or we don’t know where it is coming from. There is no jail fairy who caj wave a wand and say Viola, here is the money.

    1. leejcaroll – I am well aware of CA problem with prisoners. We had the same over-crowding problem here. Sheriff Joe just opened tent city instead of releasing prisoners.

  9. Paul – that’s a good illustration of a Liberal approach (overcrowding means let them go to prey on innocent residents) and a conservative approach (overcrowding means make more jails as cheaply as possible).

  10. Lee:

    I agree with programs like e-verify, and their equal implementation for all job applicants.

    Unfortunately, Liberal CA enacted AB 1236, which stated that CA cannot require all private employers to use e-verify, unless required by law.

    See the trend? Every time there comes in a call for ID or verification, Liberals fight it. Just like voter photo ID requirements, which are required for most major transactions of life in America, including driving a car or cashing a check.


  11. Paul sounds like a good idea. All employees are subject to it so there is no issue of they picked me out because I am a ( ) or the color of my skin is ( )

  12. Lee, the point is that illegals DO get through the system, or they avoid it entirely through identity theft.

    Welcome to a border state.

  13. Karen, you don’t just willy nilly build jails. Was the money in the budget. would the congress of Ca have had to vote on it, where would the money come from? Other areas of the budget that could not afford the hit? Would a referendum be required? (just as a strat.)

  14. But, Liberal Gov Brown’s name is mud to me because he is perversely pushing through a vacation train to San Francisco, that will suck up $65 billion, all based on a proven inflation of ridership. The train is actually going to CAUSE pollution, but it is a pet project of construction unions, and hence dear to Liberal Brown’s heart, who is firmly in the pocket of the unions.

    Now they’re talking about putting 20 miles of track underground . . . in an earthquake state. Engineers have indicated on reports than any water they encounter will be drained dry, so too bad for any wells that draw off that water. And in the even of an earthquake, sabotage, or terrorist attack, it’s going to be a long, deep, grave.

    CA has forgotten it’s basic responsibilities, and is blowing an insane amount of money on a vacation train, which will do nothing to alleviate the coronary-inducing gridlock that is named as one of the main reasons people flee the state. How many people do they honestly think are commuting to San Francisco, that will free up the roads?

  15. Karen I did not mean to rewrite your sentence of the 12% I think I meant to write that it was random queries that resulte in that number, we don’t know to whom the queries were made or what the numbers would be in a true sample/study

  16. Lee:

    The Supreme Court (as I mentioned earlier) declared the overcrowding must be solved. They did not mandate they get released, just that the problem get solved.

    Liberal Governor Brown declared the solution was to just let them go.

    A conservative approach would have been to build more jails.

    I live in this state. We have news stories all the time about murders, rapes, and other major crimes from early release felons. One of the lovely loopholes is that only the latest crime is counted. So a murderer who got picked up . . . again . . . for a drug violation is considered a “non violent offender.”

  17. Karen as noted it was the court, not Gov Brown, nor the democrats or liberals

    1. leejcaroll – it is how the Democrats, who control all of CA state government, decided to deal with the problem. They released convicts, Sheriff Joe put them in tent city.

  18. Lee – I mentioned that exact figure. I ALSO mentioned the rampant ID theft.

    I live in a border state. I experience issues from illegal immigration that non-border-state citizens might not.

    For instance, when my family rented a property and 25 people moved in and parked their cars on the lawn.

  19. It is not a liberal policy Karen,
    …”stakeholders know it would be futile to fight the change since it came about in response to a court order requiring the state to solve its prison overcrowding crisis by any means possible. California still is about 8,600 inmates over the limit, with about two months left to comply with a federal court order.
    This has been done inin a number of states. letting out violent offenders. Part of the problem is the idiotic draconian sentencing of low level drug offenders who take up prison space that needs to be available for the truly bad guys.
    In a “perverse” effect of realignment, many offenders actually manage to dodge drug treatment and other rehabilitation programs by choosing to do “straight time” behind bars. That’s because unlike the old prison/parole system, the new system doesn’t require a period of post-release supervision and the new rehabilitation programs and services that often come along with it. Now, everyone who opts only for jail, serves a maximum of half their sentence. Others are released even sooner because of overcrowding, particularly in Los Angeles County. Without post-release supervision, there are fewer opportunities for the authorities to detect new crime, including the loss of the ability to conduct warrantless searches and seizures of former inmates. …”


    1. leejcaroll – Tent city jails are very effective. Especially in Arizona.

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