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Got Billed $7000 When They Misdiagnosed Me, Ignored Requests

I apologize that this is so long.

Here's my story. I am 22, male, unemployed, live in Florida, not married, no kids, no Medicare or insurance or anything like that, live with my grandmother, don't own a house or car, have one bank account with a debit (not credit) card. I dunno how much of that info matters in this situation. Anyway.

So about 6 months ago, I had this weird pain in my mid-back area, on my right side. A stabbing pain. It hurt when I breathed in deeply or twisted or stretched in certain ways. It felt a bit deeper than the muscle, so I figured it might be the following:

1. Liver damage
2. Kidney damage
3. Lung damage
4. Cracked rib maybe?
5. Simple back muscle pain
6. Hernia

I didn't know what it was. Over the course of six months, it would go away, come back, go away, come back, just fluctuate. It would never FULLY go away, it was always there non-stop, just some days it would be almost not noticeable unless I twisted a lot. Until recently.

I woke up, and had to do something to my heavy air conditioner, the kind you put in a window. Anyway, when lifting it, I had this extremely sharp stabbing pain that basically paralyzed me. I could hardly move, this was the worst pain I've ever felt.

I know, I should have just laid down, maybe went to a doctor's office (not a hospital). But I was thrown into a sudden panic, I was freaking out, was scared something was wrong, possibly internal bleeding, I dunno, so I called my friend and girlfriend who both took me to the hospital.

The fact that it was heavy lifting that caused more pain is evidence that it may be just back muscle, but evidence that it's something else is, how long it's lasted, and how deep the pain feels. Beneath the muscle. Even when I have someone press their elbow down hard on that spot, I feel it on my muscle and can sense the pain seems to be beneath it.

Anyway. I can't afford to just speculate, I have to know exactly what's wrong with me. So we got to the hospital. On the way there, my friend tells me about how he got a CAT scan once for something, and he had to be injected with barium, and it made him feel sick. I didn't want that, so I decided to just get an X-ray, not to mention I know an X-ray is only like 100 - 300 bucks, CAT scan's gotta be a lot more.

I sit down with some lady who is writing down stuff and typing down stuff in the computer while she asks me questions. I tell her everything I told you just now. She suggests it might be a kidney stone. I say no, it is not a kidney stone. She asks if I have bladder problems, no, urinating too much or not enough, no, painful urination, no, how much I drink alcohol, I don't, never have. I tell her I know it's not a kidney stone. She basically disregards me saying stuff like "You can't know, only we can know" and "well, we'll see."

I directly request for an X-ray and directly say I do not want a CAT scan. She does not deny or confirm anything and just takes my info down.

I go to the waiting room, they tell me to put on one of those hospital gowns. I wait for a long time, nurse comes in and takes a blood and urine sample, gives me some saline drip then a painkiller drip, didn't really request that, I don't care about pain, I even like it; it lets me know something is wrong inside, lets me know I have something to fix and get rid of, not cover up with meds, but whatever.

I ask the nurse doing the bloodwork if I'm gonna get an X-ray, like she has any idea, she says "we'll figure out what's wrong with ya, don't worry babe." I told her I didn't want a CAT scan. She finishes up and leaves.

Doctor comes in, asks what's wrong, I explain it all to him. Told him the lady who took my info said it was a kidney stone and I said it was not. He also asks about my bladder and if I drink alcohol, I say no. I ask for an X-ray, I request not to get a CAT scan, he basically just says that they'll find out what's wrong with me. He doesn't really say much, and just leaves.

I wait for a long time. Then another lady comes in. She does some stuff to my IV and bed, and begins wheeling me out, and she says she's taking me to the CAT scan machine. I say something like "Whoa, wait a minute, uh... can I just get an X-ray? I really want an X-ray. I don't want to get sick from that stuff." She explains she'll give me a CAT scan without drinking or being injected with barium. I say I still would rather have an X-ray. This is as she is wheeling me through the hospital. And she explains "Well an X-ray is just one scan from the front, a CAT scan machine goes all the way around you." I told her I knew what a CAT scan is and kept complaining, she keeps saying stuff like "Don't worry, we're gonna find out what's wrong with you, don't worry, you're in good hands" etc.

I just want to know what's wrong with me. So they do the scan, then she wheels me back. I wait in there for an hour before the doctor comes back.

He says "You don't have a kidney stone."

... I say "I know. What is it?"

He shrugs and says he doesn't know. Couldn't find anything wrong. He's assuming it's muscular.

I ask if it's a hernia. If it's my liver or lung. He shrugs. Has no idea what it is. He says again, "It's not a kidney stone." Which I knew.

He gives me a prescription for pain pills and muscle relaxers, and leaves. I'm free to go.

I still have no knowledge of what is wrong inside of me. I am thinking of going to an actual doctor's office and getting an X-ray, but that's besides the point. Now we come to the thing I have problems with. The bills. First bill was for the bloodwork, paid for it, 27 bucks. Then I got the following bills:

From Medical Center:
T CONNECTOR ************* 49.50
SET ADD A LINE ************ 81.00
NORMAL SAL 1000 CC ****** 155.25
TORADOL 30 MG SYRING **** 209.75
UA W O MICRO AUTO ******* 139.50
IV INITIAL UP TO 1 HOUR **** 191.25
IV SET W FILTER ************ 90.25
CT ABDOMEN W/O CONT *** 3,660.75
EMER DEPT LEVEL 1 ********* 246.75

TOTAL CHARGES ******** 9,385.25
CONTRACTUAL ADJ ****** 2,815.57-

DUE FROM PATIENT ****** 6,569.68

Then a separate bill a few days later from the Radiology Group:
CT PELVIS W/O DYE *** 134.43

TOTAL *************** 281.11

$6596.68 + $281.11 = $6,850.79
So, now I owe almost 7000, for absolutely nothing. I wasn't fixed, I wasn't even diagnosed. I was tested for a kidney stone, even though I knew I did not have one, after requesting not to get tested for a kidney stone, requesting not to have a CAT scan, requesting an X-ray, requesting to be tested for other things. I came in complaining about pain in the mid-back. And they scanned my pelvis and abdomen. My pain is ABOVE my abdomen, so the CAT scan did not even catch the area I told them where the pain is.

So now that you've spent all this time reading my story (if you have, thank you) I hope some of you can know something, anything, how to help me. I have a few questions:

1. I have heard that not paying simply "messes up your credit." I can live with that. But someone else told me I can be sued, and other bad stuff can happen. What all will result from not paying?

2. Is there ANYTHING I can do to get these charges voided? Or at least lessened? I really need help, hopefully someone out there will have good advice.

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replied September 17th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
i wish there was something that i could do for you. unfortunately they will hold you responsible for the services rendered wether or not you wanted them or wether or not your diagnosis was correct. You could take them to court but that is about all i can suggest. i know where you are comming from.s
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replied October 10th, 2007
Thats the rough part about diagnosing a persons problems. Its not like the can hook a computer up to you and get a print out of what is wrong with you. Things take tests and tests take alot of money. I feel terrible that you are in this situation but i dont think there is nothing you can really do.
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replied October 24th, 2007
ERs throw people into CAT scans any chance that they get instead of an X-ray, because they're such a huge revenue generator. ER doctor groups that get contracted by a hospital need to do this or else the hospital will find another doc group who will do it for them.
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