Our Experience

September 10, 2009

In 2001 Robert had a dirt bike crash.  His injury was catastrophic.  It was a brain injury, basically adult shaken baby syndrome.  When he came in to contact with the ground the sudden stop cause his brain to hit the inside of his skull.  The inside of the skull is not smooth and, it cause two small areas to bleed into the fluid around the brain.  He was unconscious for 14 days.  He was in 3 different hospitals, had 3 ambulance rides, and finally some out patient rehab.  One of the hospitals was Shepherd Center in Atlanta.  That is the same hospital that Christopher Reeves was in.  It’s the best for spine and brain injuries.  When all was said and done and the bills began to roll in I was surprised that we got a bill for EVERYTHING!  I mean one from each doctor, each ambulance, each hospital and for a few separate tests.  The total due was over $185,000.

Robert was working as a mechanic and had no insurance.  He was making less than $30,000 per year.  Not only did he not have insurance but he was out of work for more than 2months in which he had no income.  We could not have sold our house, cars, and all other belongings to come up with the total amount due.  We contacted each biller to negotiate the amounts of money that were due.  We told them about our financial situation and some of them reduced their bills significantly, some arranged a payment plan with us and some put us in contact with a few charitable organizations.  Home Depot donated thousands of dollars and ended up covering one entire hospital bill.  We are now loyal Home Depot shoppers!  Now, 7 years later we have just settled and paid off the last of the bills.  This experience changed our lives.  I know Robert feels it was a turning point in his life.  There are a million emotional aspects to this but, it also changed our financial life.  It was a lot of money very early in our relationship.  We spent the first 7 years of our lives together paying for the treatment he received.

In light of all the current debate over healthcare, I have to say that something does need to be done to fix the system.  I was shocked to know that the hospitals have one price for when an insurance company pays and a lower price for when an individual pays.  That just isn’t right.  I can only imagine that leads to an increase in insurance rates.  However, I’m not convinced that more government involvement is going to fix the problems. 
What is REALLY amazing is that he was uninsured and he didn’t die and we didn’t go broke because he got sick. (Facebookers)

All the money we paid was worth it.  It was no easy task but, we paid it off.  The treatment he received was the Best.  The doctors that took care of him were the Best.  The level of treatment he received was the Best.  I’m so thankful and, we are so fortunate to live in a country where that level of care and treatment are even available to the average person everyday.



  1. cheers!!!!!!!!

  2. Very interesting. Do you know for a fact that they charge insurance companies more than private individuals? I have heard just the opposite from some liberals, that hospitals et. al. charge individuals more than insurance companies because the insurance companies negotiate competitive rates using their volume business as a wedge.
    Nancy had a similar head injury about 3 years ago and she still has occasional dizzy spells. We are so glad to hear that you fought your way out of that debt.

    • I guess we can never really be sure what the truth is. I when I started calling the hospitals to let them know that we didn’t have the money to pay them a common response was for them to tell me that the bill I received was meant for an insurance company. They then reissued the bills to us and the total amounts due were MUCH less. Maybe they were just afraid we were going to go bankrupt.
      I hate to hear that Aunt Nancy still gets the dizzy spells. Robert says he doesn’t think he still has any issues from the crash but, his pupils are sometimes two different sizes. Weird!

  3. I had no idea that you were paying those bills for so long. It makes me proud that you both faced up to your obligations the way that you did. It is an indication that you both were brought up properly.

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