By Consumers For Quality Care, on March 12, 2020
An Alabama woman sued by her hospital told CBS News that she wished her husband had let her die after getting the bill for more than $30,000. KC Roberts and her husband Daryl, who live outside Dothan, Alabama, said they paid what they could monthly toward the bill for three years, but last September they were sued for the full amount of the bill plus interest, for a total of nearly $37,000:
“I told my husband, ‘I wish you’d have let me die,'” KC said to CBS News Consumer and Investigative Correspondent Anna Werner. “I’ve said, ‘Honey, I love you and I love my family, but if you had let me go, today you would not be going through this.'”
It all stared in May 2016, when KC’s severe abdominal pain led to an emergency appendectomy.
“I felt like I was dying,” she said.
Her husband rushed her to local Flowers Hospital. “The doctor told me, ‘She needs to have this surgery now,'” Daryl said.
Then, the bills came.
A few weeks later, the Roberts got the doctors’ bills, which came to a little under $3,000. But then, the hospital’s bill arrived, and it was more than $52,000. Even with a discount for uninsured patients like KC, the total came to about $31,000.
“I thought it was crazy. That’s a house in Alabama in this area. That’s a house,” KC said.
The Roberts family paid what they could on the bill for nearly three years, but then last fall the hospital sued them for the entire balance plus interest – coming to a total of almost $37,000.
According to CBS News, her original bill was likely far higher than what she would have paid if she’d had insurance, and some $25,000 higher than what Medicare would be charged by the hospital for the same procedure.
“Seems like they’re taking advantage of people who don’t have insurance, and I say you oughta be ashamed of yourself. Why would you even do that?” KC said.
The Roberts family is far from alone. CBS News found that the for-profit hospital has sued more than 1,500 people.
Meanwhile, KC now has another potential medical issue to confront – a “large painful lump growing on her shoulder,” but she says she hasn’t been to the hospital because she can’t afford it.