Million-dollar patient: US COVID-19 survivor gets heart-stopping hospital bill

US healthcare cost is among the most expensive in the world. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 14 June 2020

Million-dollar patient: US COVID-19 survivor gets heart-stopping hospital bill

  • Michael Flor was admitted to a hospital in the northwestern city on March 4, and stayed for 62 days

WASHINGTON: A 70-year-old American man who nearly died of COVID-19 has been billed a heart-stopping $1.1 million for his hospital expenses, the Seattle Times reported Saturday.
Michael Flor was admitted to a hospital in the northwestern city on March 4, and stayed for 62 days — at one point coming so close to death that nurses held up the phone so his wife and children could say goodbye.
But he recovered and was discharged on May 5 to the cheers of nursing staff — only to receive a 181-page bill totaling $1,122,501.04, he told the newspaper.
That includes: $9,736 per day for the intensive care room, nearly $409,000 for its transformation into a sterile room for 42 days, $82,000 for the use of a ventilator for 29 days, and nearly $100,000 for two days when his prognosis was life-threatening.
Flor is covered by Medicare, a government insurance program for the elderly, and should not have to take out his wallet, according to the Times.
But in a country where health care is among the most expensive in the world — and the idea of socializing it remains hugely controversial — he said he feels “guilty” knowing that taxpayers will bear much of the cost.
“It was a million bucks to save my life, and of course I’d say that’s money well-spent ... But I also know I might be the only one saying that,” the Times quoted him as saying.
A gigantic plan adopted by Congress to keep the American economy afloat through the coronavirus shutdowns includes a $100 million budget to compensate hospitals and private insurance companies that treated COVID-19 patients.


Indian man wears gold face mask to ward off coronavirus

Updated 04 July 2020

Indian man wears gold face mask to ward off coronavirus

  • The precious metal covering weighs 60 grams (two ounces) and took craftsmen eight days to make

PUNE: An Indian man said he paid about $4,000 for a bespoke gold face mask to protect him from the coronavirus raging in the country.
The precious metal covering weighs 60 grams (two ounces) and took craftsmen eight days to make, said businessman Shankar Kurhade, from the western city of Pune.
“It is a thin mask and has tiny pores that is helping me to breathe,” Shankar told AFP.
“I am not sure if it will be effective to protect me from a coronavirus infection but I am taking other precautions,” he added.
When going out, the 49-year-old said he likes to adorn himself with gold jewelry weighing a kilogramme, including a bracelet, necklace and rings on each finger of his right hand.
Kurhade — whose company makes industrial sheds — said he got the idea for the gold face mask after seeing a media report about a man wearing one made from silver.
“People are asking me for selfies,” he said.
“They are awestruck when they see me wearing the gold mask in markets.”
India has made face masks mandatory in public places in a bid to control the spread of the virus in the country, which has around 650,000 confirmed cases and more than 18,600 fatalities.