Two weeks ago, Herbert Witzel suffered a nasty gash on his ear lobe after a fall. Five stitches cost him more than $850.
By Greg Bennett
An expensive stitching job has a Shelburne County summer resident questioning local health care costs for tourists.
Two weeks ago, Herbert Witzel suffered a nasty gash on his ear lobe after a fall.
The summer resident has no local family doctor and went to Outpatients at the Roseway Hospital for treatment …which would end up to be five stitches.
It would prove to an expensive stitching job.
Before he could leave the hospital, Witzel had to pay a bill of $850. He then asked if he would have a similar charge when he returned to have the stitches taken out.
To his surprise, he was told that yes, another $850 charge would be levied for the removal of the stitches.
“It’s crazy,” said Witzel, who noted that a similar hospital visit in his home country, Germany, would cost about $100 and include removal of the stitches. “The hospital staff agreed the cost was ridiculous but said …‘we must charge you.’”
Witzel came to Shelburne County 12 years ago after coming to Canada on a search for a vacation residence and fell in love with the area.
The Round Bay summer resident says he has come to appreciate the beauty of Shelburne County and its people over the years.
“We love this country and here it is such a nice place to live here …people are so friendly,” he said.
But he says the high costs for even simple health care needs could mean problems for tourism and growth in the area.
“If a tourist comes here and needs medical help, they’ll never come back,” he said.
To avoid another $850 charge, Witzel had his stitches removed by a friend who is a nurse.
The fees for people who aren’t Canadian residents are spelled out on a card handed to foreigners who visit the hospital. The most expensive item on the list is a Yarmouth ICU visit at $4200 a day. Day surgery is $2.927.50. A standard, non-private room at the Roseway Hospital costs $1575 a day. An ER visit fee is $717, plus a doctor’s fee. A standard ward, non-private bed at the Yarmouth Hospital costs $2100 a day. Taxes are additional on all fees.
A call to South West Health for comment on the fees was not returned.