Monday, December 11, 2006

The Cost of Birthing a Baby

Another of my recent "finds" in the basement was the bill from the Lisenby Hospital, where I was born on January 5, 1949. If you can't read it above, here is the itemized statement:

Patient's name: Wife and baby
Admitted: 1-4-49 Dismissed: 1-11-49
Room: 7 days @ 7.50 52.50
Room fee: 10.00
Anaesthetic 10.00
Nursery & Bracelet 19.00
Drugs 3.50
Total Hospital Bill 95.00

This is quite in contrast to today's charge for a hospital stay! 21 meals at a cost of $52.50 seems like a real bargain to me. I found myself wondering just what drugs my mother received for $3.50 -- maybe a Bayer aspirin or two? I find it interesting that one of the big-ticket items was a baby bracelet for $19. I remember seeing that little bracelet growing up. It contained a series of beads that spelled my name. However, I didn't come across the remains in the basement boxes.

This is quite in contrast to what happens with today's mothers-to-be. First of all most would never think of spending more than a couple of nights in the hospital unless they had had a C-section. But second, the cost for even a couple of days is well over $1000 I'm sure, with a separate charge for every item the hospital provides.

It's interesting to me that Lisenby Hospital eventually became a nursing home. My father spent his final days in the same place where he walked the halls and smoked cigarettes while waiting for me to be born. The price had gone up considerably by the time he became the patient.


Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I wonder what that says about the health system? How did things get so out of sight?

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that was alot of money back then. My mother found a hospital bill much like that one some years back for one of us. Our bracelets were put in acrylic blocks and I have mine still.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember my mother saying she was in the hospital for two weeks with each of us; the only time a woman got to rest after giving birth, she said. My first was born while his dad was in the military. The bill totaled $34. My 4th was born six years later, her identity bracelet was a cheap plastic band, and the bill was over $2,000!

6:29 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

I think hospitals charge about $95 for a toothbrush these days. It's crazy. But how cool that you discovered this document! You are in such a healing trajectory, going all the way back to your birth. Wow.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'm a little worried about receiving my bill for a recent trip to the emergency room. I fear it will far exceed your birth. How crazy is that?

What fun to find the record.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- You think health care is bad? You live in Canada, where it is far better than here in the U.S.

OL -- Your parents were very far-thinking in preserving your identity bracelets. I recall seeing mine in an envelope as just a set of unconnected beads along with a lock of my platinum blond hair. Probably in another box in the basement...

Pauline -- Two days was way more than I wanted to spend in a hospital after childbirth, let alone two weeks! You too have noted the effect of inflation just in the course of 6 years.

Reya -- Yes, $95 for a toothbrush sounds about right. Then there was my last stay where everything I paid for became radioactive and I couldn't even take it home.

Kristin -- I guarantee that if you even set foot in an emergency room it will be more than $95. Of course that did not cover the doctor's fee. It would be fun to find that bill!

1:50 PM  

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