Pity the poor Maryland woman who was hit with a $55,000 medical bill after being treated for a venomous snake bite.
Pity her not for being bitten – she was treated at a Bethesda, Md., hospital and is now doing fine – but for her apparent lack of common sense or, more likely, lack of gratitude.
Jules Weiss, according to a story aired on WRC-TV in Washington, DC, had stopped to take a photo at an overlook along the George Washington Parkway. On the way back to her car, she felt something bite her.
Turns out it was a Copperhead, although the story makes it sound as though Weiss wasn’t aware of being bitten by a venomous snake. (How she didn’t happen to see the snake after it bit her isn’t addressed in the story.)
“It felt just like a bee sting,” she told the station. “There were two fang marks with liquid coming out.”
So what did the former emergency medical technician do? Nothing, apparently. It was only an hour later that she noticed her foot had turned “grayish” and started to swell.
Weiss went to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, where she received three IV bags of antivenin over an 18-hour period.
But because, as the story puts it, Weiss’s “insurance had just lapsed,” she was hit with a $55,000 medical bill.
Unreported is why Weiss’s insurance lapsed. Did she simply decide that she didn’t want to cover the cost of the premiums any longer, as many younger individuals choose to do?
She works in Washington, DC, promoting the area’s tech industry, according to her Twitter page, so one would imagine she earns a decent living and could afford insurance if she wanted it.
Whatever the reason, Weiss is now upset about her big medical bill.
“It’s not a number I can really wrap my head around,” she said.
Antivenin involves milking individual snakes and is, not surprisingly, a costly treatment. That is one of the reasons insurance exists; to cover unexpected expensive episodes like the one Weiss experienced.
And, as is often the case with situations such as this, you can bet your last dollar that it was Weiss who brought this to the media’s attention.
Sure enough, a glance at her Twitter feed shows Weiss pumping the story for all its worth.
On Aug. 6 she tweeted: “Snakebite: 16hrs in ER & antivenom: $56k bill. Any other takers?” making sure to link to the Washington Post, Washington Times, WRC-TV and other outlets.
Each time an outlet ran a story she previewed it, and after it ran, she thanked the reporter and included a link to the story. She even managed to get the Today show to run a story on her “plight.”
There doesn’t appear to be any tweets thanks the staff at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda for possibly saving Weiss’s foot from amputation.
So, ultimately, what we have here is someone who failed to seek immediate treatment for what she probably should have recognized was a snakebite, who most likely made the choice herself not to have insurance, and then went to the media to broadcast her poor decisions and, in effect, bash the hospital, even after the latter had provided the care she needed.
Yes, sounds like she fits in just perfectly in Washington.
(Top: Copperhead snake. Seek treatment if bitten by one. Expect a large bill if you don’t have insurance.)