Patient billed for a Tulsa hospital's mistake

Thursday, September 18th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A 59-year-old Tulsa woman fights her hospital bill. She's says a Tulsa hospital made a medical mistake and then charged her for it.

She called News on 6 anchor Lori Fullbright, who explains that Wanda Stevens says she only called us after having no luck getting her bill made right, after six months of trying.

Wanda Stevens, a mother of beautiful girls and a grandma, had a car wreck in April. She went to St John because she had a banged up knee and some bruises. She was given what she was told was tetanus shot. She went for X-rays and when she returned, she learned the truth.” The doctor said the nurse gave you the wrong shot. She gave you a heart shot instead of a tetanus and there's nothing we can do about it now, but give you a tetanus shot."

Stevens says she got the second shot and the doctor told her she'd have to stay the night to make sure the wrong shot didn't harm her. "I said, since this is not because of my car wreck, am I liable and he said they'd take care of it. My daughter was right there." Wanda spent the night on heart monitors and was allowed to leave the next day.

She says she asked for discharge papers that explained what happened so she wouldn't be charged. Her discharge summary says her injuries from the car wreck were minor and that she got a wrong shot that required an overnight stay, but she was still charged. “Bill comes and I'm charged for it. I called two or three times and they said they'd check into it and I never heard back."

The room stay is for $720 and even though she's since received the insurance money to pay the bill; she doesn't feel she should have to pay that portion of it. "I don't think it's right billing the insurance company for it cause it'll raise my rates. It's not my money, but, it's also not theirs." The hospital says it can't talk about patient records because of HIPPA laws that protect privacy. But Wanda gave the hospital permission over the phone and is willing to sign a form to allow them to speak about her case.

The hospital says even a signed form wouldn't allow them to talk about Wanda's case. They did say they review all billing complaints.

Wanda says she's hasn't heard from St John in six months, but got two calls from them Thursday. One person told her they're reviewing her account and will get back with her.