Woman with rare disease 'charged $57 for crying at doctors'

·3-min read

A woman has claimed her younger sister was charged US$40 (A$57) for shedding a single tear in front of a doctor while seeking treatment for a “rare disease”.

Camille Johnson, a popular YouTube personality from New York, shared a photo of her sister’s medical bill online on Wednesday after she was outraged by the incident.

“My little sister has been really struggling with a health condition lately and finally got to see a doctor. They charged her $40 for crying,” she told her 45,000 followers on Twitter.

The image of the medical bill shows a large red circle highlighting a charge for “brief emotional/behavioural assessment”.

Camille Johnson and he sister's medical bill after the appointment with the doctor.
Camille Johnson says he little sister received the bill after shedding one tear in front of the doctor. Source: Twitter/Instagram/@offbeatlook

Ms Johnson explained that her sister has a “rare disease” and has been struggling to find care.

“She got emotional because she feels frustrated and helpless,” she said.

“One tear in and they charged her $40 without addressing why she is crying, trying to help, doing any evaluation, any prescription, nothing.”

Ms Johnson said her sibling was charged more for crying than she was for a vision test, a haemoglobin test, a health risk assessment or capillary blood draw — all performed during the same doctor’s visit.

The frustrated social media star tagged US Senator Bernie Sanders in her Tweet with the hope he might see the shocking bill.

Mr Sanders has been a longstanding outspoken critic of the US healthcare system.

Woman charged $2698 for pregnancy test

Mr Johnson’s Tweet quickly went viral, with more than 500,000 likes and thousands of comments, some from users who had encountered similar issues.

One person shared a medical bill from last year that showed a woman had been charged US$11 ($15) for crying during a mole removal.

Another woman, Lauren Cugliotta, shared her bill from when she underwent surgery to remove a tumour.

“When I got surgery this past June to remove a tumour, I asked them what ‘women’s services’ was for. It was for the pregnancy test they administered,” she said.

“US$1902 ($2698) to pee and for them to dip a tick into it. Thankfully most was covered by insurance but geez.”

Twitter users stunned by medical bill

Numerous Twitter users from around the world were stunned by the charges.

“Tell me you live in America without telling me that you live in America,” one person wrote.

“I just can’t understand how this is real and actually happening. How are Americans not all completely broke continuously?” another said.

Ms Johnson told The Independent that luckily her sister was covered by her dad’s insurance, but insisted the US healthcare system needs an overhaul.

“We need a drastic change in the healthcare industry and I thought that sharing a real life story online would be a good way to open up the conversation and help advocate for change,” she said.

“I really hope this tweet can incite improvement in our healthcare system as well as be a warning for the future.”

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