Head Injury, Emergency Room, How To Pay For ER Visit

June 6th, 2012

Last night we spent four hours in the emergency room with our oldest son.  As my wife said on Facebook, he got into a fight with a tetherball pole, and he lost.

The “before” picture is below. It’s pretty gory.  The “cut” or whatever it’s called was bigger than his mouth. If you don’t like gore, don’t scroll down.  Or, if you are eating, come back later.

Overall, we had a good experience at the emergency room. The doctor and nurses were awesome.  William was scared more than he was in pain… and the anticipation of stitches and staples built up after three hours of waiting.  Poor kid :(

I was reminded of my accident when I was new to my job search. I cut my hand and was going into shock. I was more worried about how to pay for an ER visit than anything else.  I had no income, no insurance, and was looking at paying at least hundreds of dollars just to get stitched up.  I went all DIY and tried superglue, which turns out to have been a great alternative.

Now, we have a special type of “insurance” where we are covered 100%, up to $5k, for accidents like this. I don’t know what it is called, and rarely hear about it.  But I love it.  This will be the second time we use it.  It’s nice to know this entire accident will be paid for.

Going back to what I’ve blogged about before, did you know that you can get discounts on your hospital visits?

Last night we learned we get a 25% discount for being self-pay.  That is awesome (although I think it speaks volumes about the problems with health insurance companies and processes).

We got another 15% discount just because we paid “in full” last night.

40% discount.  That’s awesome.

Please, please, please, ask your healthcare provider what discounts they provide if you are “self pay” and if you pay right away.  When our youngest son was born we got a 50% discount.  I find that amazing.  I’ve heard of others who have gotten 60% off their bill.  This can apply to the hospital and all associated service providers… even for medication.

Some neat facts about head injuries:

  • You know there is a lot of bleeding from a head injury, right?  What I didn’t know was that is a great thing – the body flushes out a lot of contaminates and lowers the chance of infection. I thought all the blood was bad, but it was actually a great thing.
  • There are not as many nerve endings on the scalp as other places (like the toe, which is where he last had stitches, a few years ago, and remembered the pain!)… so it was not a very painful procedure.
  • The maintenance on this type of injury is really low.  We were surprised that he could resume normal activity so soon, including bathing/showering, etc.  I thought we’d have to pamper the wound, but that’s not the case for us.
  • Staples and stitches come out in 10 days.  I didn’t realize that’s all they needed.

Here’s one of the pictures before staples (10) and stitches (4 under the skin, and a few on the top of the skin):


4 responses to “Head Injury, Emergency Room, How To Pay For ER Visit”

  1. Brad Merrill says:

    That’s pretty nasty,Jason. Glad William is doing Ok.

    When I was a kid I was out in the front yard with a friend. We were hitting golf balls. I bent down he took a swing and I got konked/cut in the head by a 9 iron. I was scared to death of stitches (which is what he wanted to do) – so the Dr. fixed it up with a butterfly bandage. I am not sure I have a scar even. (and I forget which side of my forehead got hit)

  2. Jason Alba says:

    Wow Brad, that story hurts me more than looking at the picture of my son’s head wound! Ouch!!

  3. […] when I blogged about my son’s encounter with the tetherball pole (we now have more information on HOW it happened, and why it was so severe (a poorly placed screw […]

  4. Jacob Share says:

    I agree with Brad- looks nasty. When I was that age, that much blood would have had me fainted on the ground.