1942 Hospital Bill

hospital bill
Here is the hospital bill for a gall bladder removal (cholecystectomy) from 1942.  It’s both a comprehensive “bundle” that is clearly itemized in terms a consumer can understand, and it fits on just one page.

The line for Professional Services is the surgeon’s fee and it was collected by the hospital and paid to the surgeon.  You will also notice that the surgeon’s fee is 60% of the total.  The woman who gave it to me explained that no one had insurance back then, and physicians employed only nurses in their offices – no billing staff.

You will see the line at the bottom about bills being payable weekly – she told me that everyone went once a week to the hospital to pay $3 on their bill until it was paid off.  She also told me that the billing staff at the hospital was a sort of “first alert” when there was a problem – they noticed who didn’t come in and alerted the surgeon if they thought someone might be in trouble.

This was about 23 years before Medicare arrived….and things have certainly changed a lot in the 50 years since then…..

1942 Hospital Bill

Editor’s Note: This note and document was sent to us by a physician friend from Florida. Today the cost of a gall bladder removal is just a tinny bit more than in 1942…..

“Gallbladder removal is typically not something that has to be done urgently. Some might opt to fly to a nearby state to have their gallbladder removed in order to save tens of thousands of dollars. For example, if you live in New Jersey, the average cost of gallbladder removal surgery is $46, 850.May 13, 2014″

Man sees dollar sign on belly: 'Nice stitches, Doc.'

Gallbladder removal: How much does it cost? – Bernard Health