Wasted Money in the Healthcare System

I know a little boy who had to be airlifted to a pediatric ICU for dehydration recently. The total bill for his care in the local ER, the LifeFlight, a night in the PICU, and 2 days on the regular pediatric floor was $27,000. Just over $14,000 was for the LifeFlight alone. Saving a life is expensive.

Here’s the thing, though. When he was taken to the local ER, he was not provided with immediate medical care, nor was he diagnosed at that time with dehydration. If the ER nurses had taken the time to observe the signs of dehydration, he could have been rehydrated with IV fluids at that time and not needed to visit the PICU when he started going into shock.

If he had been rehydrated when first taken to the ER, it would have cost just over $1000 for the ER visit, IV fluids, doctors, blood draws, etc. So the indifference of the ER staff to a thirsty little boy cost an extra $26,000.

Signs of dehydration in small children: not wanting to get up and play, sunken eyes, dry lips and skin, irritability. Make sure children are drinking at least 24 oz of water a day.

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