I just found the itemized list of all the things the hospital billed for during my recent hernia surgery. The total cost, $34,000+ is eye-popping.
But the interesting part, to me, is the Pharmacy details – the list of all the medicines they gave me, apparently in chronological order, for a procedure and recovery that lasted about 4 hours.
First, a hit of Midazolam (a relaxing agent, like Valium) to chill me out. Then, the extremely powerful opioid that killed Prince among many others, Fentanyl. Then the extremely powerful drug that effectively shuts off consciousness, and which killed Michael Jackson, Propofol. Lidocaine, to numb something. Rocuronium, to keep me from moving. Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory steroid (which is in the news because Trump got some as part of his Trump Virus™ treatment). Some antibiotics. Bupivacaine, another numbing agent. Ketorlac, another anti-inflammatory. Ondansetron, to prevent nausea. Neostigmine, to reverse the Rocuronium. Then a bunch of Hydromorphone, a powerful opioid for pain, which kills thousands every year. And then a couple more hits of Fentanyl for the road. All that, and a bit more, for just $500.
I appreciate the difference between just gobbling all that stuff on the street vs having it administered by medical professionals as part of a carefully controlled procedure – and their time and expertise made up the bulk of that $34K. But no wonder my pulse was in the 40s for most of the next 36 hours!