Recently, I was visiting with a fellow teacher who related to me an incident concerning an injury her son had received while playing basketball. During a practice session, he had inadvertently been struck on the forehead, which caused a small gash. The coach notified the teacher that the laceration was severe enough that she should seek medical attention concerning the situation.
The teacher attempted to acquire the assistance of her family doctor, but the receptionist informed her that the doctor was swamped with other medical situations which made him unavailable to tend to her sonís needs. The receptionist suggested that she take him to the local emergency room, which she did.
After filling out the necessary forms, the teacherís son was finally attended to by a doctor. The doctor ascertained that the laceration could be repaired with five stitches and appropriately sewed up the laceration. The entire procedure required about fifteen minutes.
Several days later, the teacher received a bill which stated that for the 5 stitches her son received, the doctor charged $400.00, and the hospital charged her an additional $700.00 which totaled $1,100 for 5 stitches. According to my calculator, thatís $220 per stitch, $1,600 per hour for the doctor, and $2,800 per hour for the hospital.
I was a bit, no, extremely astounded by this outrageous bill, and of course the teacher was understandably flabbergasted. How could a hospital possibly justify charging $700.00 for a doctor to apply five stitches? Good grief, at those rates, if a person were to receive a severe injury and require 50 stitches, the hospital bill would be $11,000, and the doctorís bill would be $4,000, and that would be just for sewing up the person.
The teacher whom Iím referring to is a middle school teacher, and everybody knows that teachers who are able to survive teaching middle school students have an extreme amount of patience, survival skills, and an outstanding sense of humor. Otherwise, they would have bailed out to the high school or elementary where the students are more stable. This teacher arrived at a very admirable solution to the situation. Keep in mind that I am also a middle school teacher, and what I consider as admirable might be outlandish to normal folks. Her solution was that if her son ever received another laceration, she would place a leash on him and take him to a veterinarian who would probably charge less than $50.00 to sew him up.
This is a perfect example of how a selected few adults have developed the extraordinary capacity to survive the insane antics of middle school kids and live to laugh about them. Nobody but a middle school teacher could have arrived at such a simple and practical solution to such a contemptible situation. How would doctors have survived without middle school teachers to guide them through their insane years?