Can't Wait to Hold Your Newborn After Your C-Section? That'll Be $39.95

hospital billYou knew the cost of childbirth was astronomically high, but did you know that outrageous price tag might include a fee for simply holding your new baby? No, we're not kidding: A photo of a hospital bill recently posted to Reddit by a new dad featured a $39.95 fee for "skin to skin after c-sec" -- meaning that a new mom was charged nearly forty dollars to hold the child that just came out of her body. Um, what?!

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In his post that quickly went viral, Reddit user "halfthrottle" shared a pic of the bill for his son's delivery, commenting, "During the C-section the nurse asked my wife if she would like to do skin to skin after the baby was born. Which of course anyone would say yes to. We just noticed it in the bill today."

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Wow. Really?! Apparently this dad wasn't even angry about the charge -- though any outrage certainly would have been justified. (Even the commenters were furious on his behalf!) But he said, "Everyone involved in the process was great, and we had a positive experience."

"We just got a chuckle out of seeing that on the bill."

Well, good for that guy that he was able to find the humor in this completely ridiculous situation -- except really, it's no laughing matter. Sure, we're all aware that our health-care system is corrupt, but charging a new mother for holding her newborn infant?! It sounds like a bad joke or a part of an overly exaggerated movie plot, only it's real life. And that's just sad.

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Some health-care professionals have a different perspective, however. As one labor and delivery nurse who weighed in on the Reddit post noted:

Doing 'skin to skin' in the operating room requires an additional staff member to be present just to watch the baby. We used to take all babies to the nursery once the NICU team made sure everything was okay. 'Skin to skin' in the [operating room] is a relatively new thing and requires a second Labor and Delivery RN to come in to the [operating room] and make sure the baby is safe.

Of course, that makes sense -- seems a little hard to safely hold a newborn baby while you're hopped up on anesthesia and are presumably being stitched back up at the same time. The problem is looking at this as some kind of optional amenity. Skin-to-skin contact has proven to have health and bonding benefits for both baby and mom. It's a necessity. It's not "extra."

When you snag a jar of macadamia nuts and a mini bottle of vodka from the mini bar and then get slammed with some crazy surcharge on your hotel bill, it's irritating, but it's technically fair -- nuts and booze don't come with the room; they're extra. But HOLDING YOUR CHILD after giving birth is not a jar of nuts. 

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In the end, additional nurse or not, there is no way to justify charging a mother to hold her baby. It's backward, it's crooked, and it proves that making a profit, not caring for patients, is top priority for our health-care system. There's no question that's the case -- the question is, will it ever change?

 

Image halfthrottle/reddit

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