Woman Shares 'Absurd' Hospital Bill for Infant Who Only Lived Three Minutes

A tweet that went viral in 2019 resurfaced on Reddit and continued to shock and resonate with readers.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders asked on Twitter, "What's the most absurd medical bill you have ever received?" Dr. Jennifer Gunter said she received a $600 bill for her son who lived for three minutes and did not receive any medical care.

Her tweet was re-posted by Reddit user u/SkepticDrinker to the forum "Facepalm," where it amassed more than 110,000 votes and prompted other Reddit users to weigh in about the healthcare system and the medical expenses they've accrued.

Medical Billing Statement
A tweet from 2019 discussing the bill a woman received for her son that died has resurfaced and went viral on Reddit. Above, a stock image of a medical billing statement. everydayplus/iStock

According to a 2020 article published by Statista, the United States is the most expensive country for childbirth.

Data compiled in 2017 showed that a standard delivery cost $11,200, while a cesarean section can result in a $15,000 bill.

By comparison, the outlet reported that someone who gave birth in the Netherlands may expect a $3,600 bill for a standard delivery or a $5,300 bill for a c-section.

"As he died almost immediately he didn't get enrolled in my insurance plan, so I got the bill," Gunter wrote in her tweet. "From the hospital where I was a doctor."

She continued her story in a thread of tweets, noting that she called the billing department and argued with them about the death of her son and that he did not receive medical care.

"So I wrote a very threatening e-mail to the hospital CEO and told him I would call the newspaper (this was pre Twitter) and tell everyone how my own hospital tried to bill me for care my dead baby never received," Gunter wrote.

The tweet sparked shock among Reddit users, and many shared their personal stories about the medical bills they received.

One Reddit user said they were billed $46,750 for someone with the same name as their own living in the same town for treatment after a stroke.

"I tried to clear it up, but the hospital kept insisting that it was me, even after going in person to speak with their billing department and presenting my Social Security," they wrote.

After hiring a lawyer, it took about six years before they managed to reach a settlement.

A Reddit user wrote that they were surprised that the bill was "only" $600, which started a discussion about the prices of medicine given in the hospital.

"The hospital I worked at charged 25 dollars for generic Tylenol, straight, no codeine," one comment read.

Another said they were initially charged $400 for a Claritin despite having insurance. They managed to bring the bill down to about $40 after they were sent an itemized list of services.

"There's no standardized pricing for anything and hospitals are allowed to price gouge you for anything," a commenter said in response. "They can literally say Claratin is $10 or $1,000 and no one can do anything about it."

One commenter wrote that their sister, who was fully insured, was faced with an $8,000 medical bill after receiving emergency treatment from professionals out of her insurance network.

A Redditor shared that they just learned of how much someone has to pay when giving birth. They said a family friend recently had a stillbirth but was given time with their child in the hospital, clothes and footprints and pictures.

"All of this was so comforting for them at a time when they were both extremely emotionally vulnerable," they wrote. "All of this was offered with a universal healthcare system. The thought of charging people anything in that same scenario is just wicked."

Many others have taken their stories about the medical bills they've received to the internet.

A woman shared she was charged $11 for crying when she had a mole removed, while a mother posted a viral TikTok video sharing how much she was billed after giving birth.

In addition to medical bills, medical students shared the shocking tuition costs they faced in a viral TikTok video.