Pricetag for fainting at father's bedside is nearly $2,000

A hospital charged a woman who fainted at her father's bedside after he died nearly $2,000 to revive her, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The treatment for Laure Leigh's revival included a single tablet of the anti-anxiety medication lorazepam, which Los Angeles Times business columnist David Lazarus noted costs 14 cents apiece at retailers Target or Safeway.

Leigh fainted after her 90-year-old father passed away at Good Samaritan Hospital in central Los Angeles. Rather than keeping her in or near her father's room, staff moved Leigh to the hospital's emergency department, where she received the pill and sat on a bed for about 90 minutes before leaving.

Leigh received a non-itemized bill simply entitled "emergency" for the services provided. Her insurer, Blue Shield of California, paid about $200 of the bill, leaving Leigh on the hook for about $1,750, according to the Los Angeles Times. Hospitals on average charge private insurers double what they bill public payers such as Medicaid for the same procedures, according to a study published last year.

"You'd think any hospital would do whatever it could to assist bereaved family members," Lazarus wrote, later adding that it "makes you...wonder what part of the Good Samaritan story Good Samaritan Hospital doesn't understand." Leigh's father's hospital bill exceeded $100,000.

Nationwide, hospital retail charges for common procedures increased more than 10 percent between 2011 and 2013, according to a New York Times analysis of Medicare data. Even charges for common treatments, such as for chest pain, can approach $20,000.

To learn more:
- read the Los Angeles Times article 
- check out the New York Times article

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