The $600 finger.

A while back, I tried to remove the tip of my finger with a kitchen knife  at work.  I didn’t do it right, so all I got was a nice little diagonal slice  about a third of the way through on one side. I heard my fingernail crunch before I felt anything. I was too surprised the dull, pitted blade could could even do that much to even notice how much of a “bio hazard” I was creating.

The owner noticed, though, and insisted I go to the hospital. About 45 minutes later, I returned to finish out my shift with a few stitches.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but believe me, there’s about $600 (potentially $700) worth of work in that fingertip, according to the bill that I got a few weeks later.


Before anybody asks; no, my finger is not better, stronger or faster. I cannot use it to create a key to fit any lock or connect to those ever convenient computer “terminals” that seem to be present at all workstations in hideouts everywhere. It doesn’t contain a laser, or even a flashlight.

How could 3 stitches and a total of (maybe) 20 minutes with some guy have cost this much? I did spend about 5 minutes in the hospital lobby and another 15 in a hallway. I did enjoy the hospital air conditioning, a 6 month-old copy of Newsweek and a glance at a television screen. I even got to lie down on a nice hospital bed for a little while waiting for a medical person to get back to me . I even got my finger wrapped in some nice gauze by an overly complicated finger-wrapping device.

These things cost money, right?

All joking aside, there is a serious problem when three stitches and 45 minutes in the hospital costs $600 dollars. Notice that $590 is a discount price. Normally it would cost $694. 90.

This is unacceptable. I’ve rented cottages for less than that a week. That is nearly 1/4 of what I paid for my last used car. This is more than a lot of people (myself included) make in two weeks at a single job.

A whole, f*cking, cottage, people. Some tables, a stove, beds, and a toilet. For a week.

I’m sure there is somebody in billing who can break the whole thing down for me , right down to how much each strand of Berkly Fireline they sewed me back together with costs. It doesn’t matter. $700 for three stitches  is not justifiable in any way.  It isn’t the hospital’s fault. It is the fault of many, many little factors of wrong. Factors that define the price of something everybody needs eventually, if not regularly.

Hope ya’ll got good health insurance.


One comment on “The $600 finger.

  1. pretzel says:

    I don’t, wheeeee!! That’s why I still have a level 1 tear in left meniscus, a level 1-2 tear in right meniscus, enough dental work to put my dentist’s kids through Harvard, twice, and eyesight so great that when recently tested @Pearle Vision caused the optician to go “Wow, and you drove here? You shouldn’t be driving at all without glasses. You’re almost legally blind.” Sweet.

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