Archive for October, 2010

Excising the Fear From Surgery

Craig Boyd Garner

He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson



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Medicine By the Numbers Part II: The Hospital Bill

“Everything unknown is magnified.” -Publius Cornelius Tacitus, senator and a historian of the Roman Empire  [audio:|titles=03 Numbers Don't Lie 1]

This article first appeared on the PBS Website This Emotional Life.

Hospital stays can be incredibly stressful. From that open blue gown you and your new roommate must wear to understanding your diagnosis and accompanying treatment, most patients feel overwhelmed and disoriented. When you finally get to go home, weeks may pass, the discharge and rehabilitation process hopefully become manageable, and life returns to normal.  But just as soon as the anxiety from that hospital stay begins to subside, one day there it sits, waiting in your mailbox – an enigma of lines, abbreviations, and numbers that can only mean one thing: your hospital bill.

Perhaps even more than the actual hospital stay, the hospital bill can be difficult to understand. The bill will likely contain an abundance of codes and abbreviations, and it may look more like a cryptographic algorithm than a bill. Depending on the length of a hospital stay, for some the hospital bill can create a psychosomatic reaction strong enough to land you right back in the emergency department—the place where this whole thing probably started.  Before irreversible frustration and despair set in, however, here are some tips to help you understand the sum total of your hospital stay. Continue reading →


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