Here in Britain, it is easy to forget just how much medical care costs. We think of the NHS as “free” since it is, on the point of delivery. Of course, it isn’t “free” – nothing like it.
It is no wonder we appreciate the NHS. It is one of the best health care systems in the world, and we never have to worry about being turned away because we can not pay. It must have been completely baffling for people around the world to see Great Ormond Street Hospital (a London children’s hospital where May is seen for her vision) and, most prominently, the NHS featured as part of the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies. But, in my house, we cheered.
We were at an equally good hospital, The Detroit Children’s Hospital, with May when she was three months old and saw for ourselves a little boy discharged, not because he was ready, but because his insurance ran out. Such cruelties will never happen to May.
The downside is, that sometimes – rarely – the NHS doesn’t work and when that happens, we are out of luck.
Unless, we go private. This probably seems like the obvious solution. If the NHS doesn’t provide, pay for it. Health is too important to mess around with. I did it myself, and continue to do so, with May’s private physio. It is very costly, but we can’t afford to do anything else for May.
We are at those crossroads right now. May has already waited nine months to see a specialist about her hips. Most readers of the post felt that we should go private.
But, what would you do if you knew exactly how much it would cost? Yesterday, I received an emailed estimate. Here is how it added up (USD conversion correct as of today):
Initial appointment = £250 ($394)
Follow-ups = £175 ($275.56)
Up-to-date x-rays = £242 ($381.07)
Total = £667 ($1050.29)
That does not include surgery. If it comes to that. And, I don’t even want to think about how much that would cost.
The email with the costs, included the specialist’s advice that we wait. He said another doctor is joining his team in September which should alleviate the strain and allow May to be seen as early as October.
Now, what would you do?