A member of a "prone team," dons personal protective equipment (PPE), before entering the room of a patient with COVID-19 in a Stamford Hospital intensive care unit (ICU), on April 24, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. [Photo/Agencies]
A Seattle man who was dubbed “the miracle child” when he recovered from the coronavirus after being the longest-hospitalised patient has now received a $1.1m bill for his lengthy stay.
Michael Flor, 70, almost died from the novel virus, but he joked his hospital bill also almost killed him after his 62-day stay rounded up to $1.1m in fees.
“I opened it and said, 'Holy'!,” the Washington resident told the Seattle Times.
The 181-page hospital bill listed all the treatments and fees Mr Flor racked up while staying at Swedish Medical Centre in Issaquah, and the official amount owed stands at $1,122,501.04.
Fortunately for Mr Flor, he was on Medicare when entering the facility, which means a majority of the bill will be covered.
The US government could also foot portions or the entirety of the bill because Congress set aside $100bn to help hospitals and insurance companies amid the pandemic. But officials have warned this amount might not be enough, with estimates reaching $500bn in costs to treat US coronavirus patients.
Mr Flor told the newspaper he held some “survivor’s guilt” from surviving the virus, which often attacks the upper respiratory system. The hospital bill only added to that guilt.
“I feel guilty about surviving,” he said. “There’s a sense of ‘why me?’ Why did I deserve all this? Looking at the incredible cost of it all definitely adds to that survivor’s guilt.”
The bill included nearly 3,000 itemized charges the man accumulated while staying in the hospital.
When breaking down the bill, $408,912 was charged for the 42 days Mr Flor was in an intensive care room equipped with a special isolation chamber. Then an additional $82,215 was charged for the ventilator he used for 29 days.
Two of the days when Mr Flor was in the hospital involved his hearts, lungs, and kidneys all failing, bringing him close to death. Those two days racked up $100,000 in charges as doctors worked to save the man’s life, according to the Seattle Times.
Part of Mr Flor’s guilt comes from the understanding that someone is paying for the $1.1m bill.
“It was a million bucks to save my life, and of course I’d say that’s money well-spent,” he said. “But I also know I might be the only one saying that.”