It's no secret to anyone that the U.S. Healthcare system demands a great deal from its patients. The wait times are often long to receive care, the care itself is often subpar, and the medical bills received are higher than in any other first-world country.
Having hidden fees, or expecting a service to be free when it isn't, is only rubbing salt in the untreated wound at this point.
But that's exactly what Sam Goodwin, of @_sam_goodwin on TikTok, recently experienced at the hospital.
After getting a small cut on his finger that he knew needed to be treated, Goodwin went to the hospital to receive stitches. All of the care centers in the area were currently closed, so going to the hospital or staying home were his only options.
The five stitches Goodwin received cost $3,800, leaving $1,900 for Goodwin to have to pay after his insurance kicked in.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Goodwin received inconsistent information from the multiple healthcare providers he interacted with when it was time to have the stitches removed two weeks later.
Goodwin scheduled an appointment with an Urgent Care center that was associated with the hospital he'd visited. But upon his arrival, he was informed that the stitches would need to be removed at the hospital since that was where he had initially received care.
The healthcare provider assured him, however, that the service would be free.
But after waiting in the E.R. for over two hours, Goodwin explained to the nurse what had happened at the Urgent Care center, and when he attempted to confirm that removing the stitches would come at no cost, the nurse regretfully told him that he would still be receiving a bill.
Goodwin reflected that he was fed up at this point.
"I said, 'That really sucks, because I already paid $1,900 to have that done, after insurance.'"
"And they said, 'That is absolutely ridiculous.'"
"I said, 'I know.' And then I said, 'Gonna be honest, I'm not gonna pay any more money to the hospital, because I already paid too much anyway. So I'm just gonna go. I think I might just remove them myself.'"
"They said, 'That makes sense, because that was so much money.'"
The nurse decided to help in the only way she could, by providing him with sterilized tools that he could use to remove the stitches himself, in addition to removing his information from the triage system, so he would not be billed for his visit that day.
But looking back, Goodwin was disgusted by what the experience taught him.
"That's healthcare in America. $1,900 will get you five stitches, and then nurses have to go behind the backs of the hospital to get you treated. That's pretty stupid."
You can watch the video below:
Fellow TikTokers were appalled as they described how much this would have cost in their country.
A few halfway joked that it would have been cheaper to visit another country altogether to receive care.
Goodwin shared a response video after many people commented that he should have treated himself... with super glue.
"I've gotten so many comments telling me that I should have, you know, super-glued my wound myself and just not gone to the hospital in the first place."
"But I shouldn't be stuck with that option. I've got two options in this case, right? The first option is to superglue it myself and risk getting a gross infection into my bloodstream at home. And the second option, in my case, was to go to the hospital and pay $1,900, after insurance."
"It's messed up that there are so many people in my comments telling me to 'fix it yourself.' We shouldn't have to."
Those who receive universal healthcare complained about wait times, which Goodwin had a response for, as well.
A fellow TikToker commented:
"I was in a truck accident last week, and I refused to be checked by the paramedics because I'm afraid of the hospital bills."
"People talk about national healthcare having super long wait times. But how long is this dude waiting? This dude's wait time is much longer than any other country."
"Because he didn't go. He's still waiting."
Goodwin decided to follow some of the advice found in his comments section, so he's since requested itemized receipts of his recent hospital visits to see if the price of his medical bills can be reduced. At this time, Goodwin is not hopeful that anything will change, but he's committed to trying.
And who knows, if Goodwin keeps following the advice in the comments section, and he winds up needing stitches again, he might just go with the superglue plan next time, or offer to remove other people's stitches as a side hustle.