SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Ryan Grassley discovered a perplexing charge on a hospital bill for the recent birth of his son: Nearly $40 for “skin to skin” contact after his wife gave birth via cesarean section.
Amused by the bill, he posted a picture of it on Reddit this week and commented: “I had to pay $39.35 to hold my baby after he was born.”
The post set off a flurry of outrage and consternation on Reddit. Nearly 12,000 people commented, with many sharing their own stories of what they said were bizarre or ridiculous medical charges.
“A lot of people like to be shocked and outraged by things,” Grassley said in an interview Wednesday. “Today, It happened to be my hospital bill.”
The fee technically wasn’t for Grassley to hold his baby, but to have an additional nurse present in the hospital recovery room for C-section patients to ensure the mother and baby were safe, said Janet Frank, spokeswoman for Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Utah.
“There is never a charge for a patient to hold their baby,” Frank said.
Grassley said that he wasn’t mad about the bill or seeking reimbursement but thought posting it would make people laugh. He’s also hopeful the attention the bill attracted might lead hospitals to be more precise about their billing charges.
He said he and his wife were pleased with the doctors and nurses who handled the Sept. 4 birth of their second child, a boy named Samuel.
A GoFundMe account Grasley set up to pay the bill brought in $60 by Wednesday afternoon and he has a plan for the surplus.
“Any money donated over the $39.35 will be put toward a vasectomy because I never want to go through these sleepless new baby nights again,” Grassley wrote on GoFundMe.
He sent Frank an email on Tuesday apologizing for ruining her day as media attention about the bill intensified.
“Maybe it should have said, ‘Sorry for your ruining your week,'” Grassley said.