Amber Milbrodt broke a bone in her leg playing volleyball and made it to the emergency room at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
She waited for nineteen hours to see a doctor and was never seen, and so she finally left in disgust and still in pain. She did finally get some attention from the hospital though: a bill for $162.
She spent all night and the next day in that position, waiting to see a doctor.
Finally, she gave up and hobbled out in disgust.
Two weeks after her Sept. 24 visit, she received a bill from Parkland for $162.
"It should have been more like them paying me for having to sit in the emergency room for 19 hours," she says. "That's just sad. It's not proper. It's almost not moral, what I went through."
Parkland officials, already on the defensive about wait times after a man died in the ER following a 19-hour wait last month, say the charge was appropriate because a nurse spent time assessing Ms. Milbrodt for triage.
I've never been to the ER and had a nurse take my vital signs that lasted more than a few minutes.
It is appalling that she would have to wait this long in pain and still not be seen, but it is even more appalling that they would have the gall to send her a bill for it.
And we wonder why people in most other developed countries live longer than we do (well, I don't wonder, but doctrinaire conservatives who continue to stick their fingers in their ears will continue to wonder or come up with torturous logic to try and explain it all away).
It's time for the Obama health care plan. Now.