The Cost of a Toenail

by Idaho Dad on July 10, 2012

I never knew that a toenail could cost us so much money.

Actually, two toenails.

My son has been cutting his own nails for years, and doing a fine job of it until recently. A few months ago he cut too far down on his big toes and left a tiny sliver of a nail sticking out.

On both big toes!

For anyone who has had ingrown toenails, you know what happened next. The slivers grew out and away, slowly cutting their way into the side of the toes until infection set in.

The limping gave him away, so my son finally admitted that something might be wrong with his toes. Peeling off his shoes and socks, we were shocked to see a nasty, oozing infection that was badly in need of attention.

Of course it was a Sunday. These things always happen on a Sunday.

And this is what happened next:

Visit to the Urgent Care, where a doctor quickly glanced at his toes, agreeing that it was a nasty infection. He handed us a prescription and a bill for $179.

Visit to the pharmacy for antibiotics and Epsom salts (for soaking his toes). Another $50.

The next day we were able to see a pediatrician, who happily cut out the offending toenail slivers in about 5 minutes. Oh, and happily charged us $400.

Home to soak in Epsom salts again. No charge.

One week later, the infection in my son’s toes wasn’t much better, and the pediatrician’s office couldn’t see us, so they referred us to a podiatrist.

Visit to the podiatrist, who spent 2 minutes explaining that the toenail slivers were still there, and another 15 minutes removing half of the entire nail on each big toe. Charge, $550.

Home to soak in Epsom salts again. No charge. That was one big bag of salts.

My story ends with the good news that my son’s toes have now healed.

But at a cost of $1,179.

For a couple of big toes.

All this just to say: There is something seriously wrong with the cost of health care in this country!

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