Leighton Factor is a 25 year-old, previously healthy first year medical student. A classmate noticed she was limping and she noticed some hip pain, but didn't think much of it. A few days later, she called her school's nursing hotline. She was directed to a sports medicine office, where she was diagnosed with a sports injury. The next day, she drove 3 hours to go home for Thanksgiving. The pain had progressed and now emcompassed her entire leg.
Her right thigh diameter was notably larger than the left. She had pain on passive stretch, and she was unable to walk. She made an appointment with her primary care physician (PCP), who was concerned about a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) but did not have an in-house ultrasound. Leighton was sent to an imaging center, where an ultrasound confirmed a DVT. Her parents took her to the ED, where she received an intravenous blood thinner (enoxaparin), a prescription for an oral blood thinner (rivaroxaban), and instructions to follow up with her PCP.
Two days later, her pain worsened, and her leg continued to enlarge. Her parents took her to another hospital, where she was admitted. She received pain medication, an increased dose of blood thinner, and was discharged the next day. At that point, the clot was 2 feet long, but the increased medications helped prevent it from growing.
After 3 months of blood thinners, she received follow up imaging to look for structural causes of the DVT and to check on the size of the clot.
A couple months later, more imaging confirmed the clot was stable. She met the cardiovascular surgeon who ultimately placed a stent in her iliac vein.
After the surgery, she had follow-up appointments with her surgeons, a blood specialist (hematologist), and her PCP, as well as numerous trips to the lab for monitoring.
She received bills from the two emergency rooms, the two sets of emergency physicians, the radiologist who read her imaging studies, the surgeon, the hematologist, and her PCP. She was surprised to see that all of the charges were broken up by the different provider types. She had to make a lot of phone calls to her insurance company to be sure that she received the correct benefits. Because she couldn't afford to pay all the bills at once, she also had to set up payment plans with each provider.
More than a year after this all started, she is recovering well - and surviving medical school! However, she is still paying off and trying to make sense of her medical bills. The experience increased her understanding of what patients go through when they get billed for the services physicians provide.
Click on portions of her bill below to see what Leighton has learned about her medical bills.