I'm sure you heard about the hospital bill that went viral earlier this month because of a $39.35 charge for “skin-to-skin after C-section.” The response by in large was shock and outrage across social media, leading many readers to sound off and demand an explanation for the seemingly ridiculous charge.
One person who saw the bill was a Canadian doula who responded by writing a viral Facebook post to shed some light on why the $40 charge may not be as ridiculous and unreasonable as it seems.
Doula Meaghan Grant wrote, “Doulas, activists, advocates, and regular people are up in arms. How DARE the hospital charge someone to hold their baby! That’s ludicrous, right!?!”
She answers the question with a simple: No, it’s not.
“During a caesarean, many people become shaky, nauseous, uncomfortable, even faint,” she explained. “These are normal physiological reactions. In order to facilitate skin to skin in the OR, and extra nurse needs to be available to assist.”
“And before people scream that ‘there’s a nurse for the baby,’ there is, but that nurse has other responsibilities in the OR. They aren’t either holding the baby or twiddling their thumbs. So yes, an extra nurse is needed.”
“Nurses are the LARGEST budget item,” she explained. “They don’t appear out of nowhere and they don’t grow on hospital bulletin boards. Their time and their presence are valuable and should be valued.”
Rather than “screaming about the big, bad, awful hospital system,” Grant encouraged people to acknowledge the need for concessions and instead focus on the fact that the hospital offers skin-to-skin to C-section moms in the OR. “That’s amazing! We should be celebrating that!” she wrote.
Grant’s post was shared over 500 times and prompted many discussions in the comment thread about the Canadian and American health care systems. The doula explained that Canadian hospitals also charge for an additional care provider in the instance of skin-to-skin contact after a C-section birth, but because of Canada’s universal health care system, patients don’t necessarily see the itemized list of charges.
Many parents also commented to thank Grant for her explanation and share their own post-birth billing experiences. Agreeing with the doula’s assessment, one commenter wrote, “It’s amazing a hospital is making concessions to accommodate skin to skin in the OR!”
So what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.