Monday, June 7, 2010

Bill for a Birth

(click to expand)

While searching in my archives for photos to illustrate MIT History of Science professor David Kaiser's upcoming book (tentatively entitled How the Hippies Saved Physics) I excavated many Paleolithic layers of personal history including this bill for my birth in a homeopathic hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.

The services for which the hospital billed my parents are itemized thus: "Flat rate for 12 days room and board, delivery room, anesthesia, laboratory tests, routine medicines, care of baby included."

The total bill? $40.00.

Of course I was born in the middle of America's Great Depression, when forty dollars was a lot of money.


Anonymous said...

$40 would be the cost of a couple of aspirins in today's medical matrix.

I recall about 12 - 13 years ago I was attending a very lovely friend's presentation at a conference in one of the big techno-fluff hotels in San Jose, and I had a some sort of seizure, passed out in the hotel lobby . . . big drama for the moment.

Ambulance comes in, medic folks complete with oxygen mask had me strapped into a gurney, and off I went to the local hospital (Kaiser, as I recall).

After several hours of observation, and some tests, they released me, let me go home.

The total bill for that momentary bit of medical drama - just a tad under $5,000.

I wouldn't even hazard a guess as to what that sort of moment of medical drama would cost today.

Is it just me, or is there something really, really . . . really wrong with this picture?

Ginny said...

Nick, Nothing wrong with your "picture" at all ... it is quite focused. Most logical people KNOW what is "out of focus". Ginny

Anonymous said...

What a treasure; what handwriting! I was precocious, so my Dad put ink eraser on my birth cert. and changed the date to put me in Kindergarten a year early. Oh, yea, he also 'made' me a Scorpio, instead of Sag. Try that now.