Mother's outrage after being billed for 'nursery care' of daughter who died MINUTES after being born
21:01 GMT, 3 June 2012
A grieving mother whose newborn died in her arms was charged almost $900 for her daughter's hospital care, despite the fact that she was only alive for a few seconds after birth.
Melissa Sherman had her baby, Kaylee Marie, in November 7 last year but at 23 weeks premature she was too small to survive.
Doctors at the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Centre in Phoenix, Arizon, checked the tiny girl’s heart beat and wrapped her in a blanket before giving her to Sherman for a first, and last, cuddle.
Tragic: Melissa Sherman gave birth to her baby in November of last year and had time for one quick cuddle before the newborn died
'She was born, and we just held her,' Sherman told ABC15. 'We just held her. That's all we did,' she said.
The new mother savored the few precious moments she had with her fragile daughter, who didn’t even open her eyes.
Kaylee died within minutes and Sherman was forced to leave the hospital with no baby.
Adding to her pain, Sherman was billed, not only for her own care, but for that of her dead baby, who she said received no medical attention.
Sherman was sent a Nursery Level 1 Care bill from the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Centre totaling $862 for ‘routine daily accommodation charges’.
Tiny: Baby Kaylee was 23 weeks premature and so small she fitted in the palms of her mother's hands
Spokesperson Rainey Daye Holloway told the news channel that ‘hospitals have expenses whether a patient lives or dies’, confirming that the charges were accurate.
Sherman accepted the costs and was expecting to pay a small percentage, with the rest being covered by her health benefits plan, so she was shocked when the insurance company billed her for $896.73.
As it turned out a pre-determined reimbursement arrangement between the company and medical centre meant that the hospital was reimbursed $6,270.60 for Kaylee’s care, sending Sherman’s out-of-pocket costs soaring, too.
The distraught mother was forced to re-live her daughter’s death over and over as she fought for months to have the charges rebuked.
'It's been hard because every time I call there I have to explain to them what happened,' she said. 'It's been really emotional.'
Shocking: The Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center (pictured) sent Sherman a bill for her daughter's care
It wasn’t until she told Banner’s billing manager she was working with the media that any action was taken.
Sherman’s charges were reversed and she was sent a letter from Larry Volkmar, Banner Good Samaritan's CEO.
‘I have recommended that we adjust the bill associated with your daughter's stay to zero as a courtesy to you and your family,’ he wrote.
‘We will remit all payments received toward this account to you and/or your insurance company respectively.
'Please accept my condolences for your loss.’