A healthcare worker in Arkansas who spent a month hospitalized with COVID-19 has been hit with nearly $1 million in medical bills.
Shenita Russie, 42, a mobile respiratory therapist, opened up about the high treatment costs to local news station THV11. “The bills? They were incredible. I mean it was close to a million dollars for how sick I was on life support,” she said.
While working in Boston at the beginning of the pandemic, Russie tested positive for COVID-19 and was ultimately put in a medically-induced coma for a month. Upon returning home to Little Rock, Russie was hit with the aforementioned medical bills.
Although her worker’s compensation is supposed to serve as insurance, Russie was initially billed by The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Baptist Health. Her bills have been threatened to go to collections, which would impact her credit.
Russie isn’t the first coronavirus survivor who’s experienced exorbitant bills for long stints in the hospital. Last summer, a 70-year-old Seattle man made news headlines after he received a $1.1 million hospital 181 page bill for a stay at the Swedish Medical Center in Issaquah, Washington.
Meanwhile, Newsweek reports that UAMS CEO Dr. Steppe Mette estimated that the average cost of a COVID patient at his hospital was nearly $25,000 and for those on a ventilator for a month, “probably close to $100,000.” The high cost of medical bills is just another reason Mette urges those who are not vaccinated to reconsider getting the vaccine.
“It is an individual’s choice whether to get the vaccination or not. That also means that it’s an individual responsibility to bear the consequences if they get sick,” Mette told the news outlet.